12 Tips to Deal with the Police in Saudi Arabia

The biggest problem for the expatriates coming from the Asian and western countries is dealing with the policemen. Policemen include traffic police and patrolling police. The problem is mainly due to the language barrier. You don’t know Arabic and don’t expect from them even a single word of English. Here I will be providing some tips to you to deal with the police in a better way in Saudi Arabia.

Keep it in mind; it is not your native country. You cannot afford to be unpleasant with any of the national of Saudi Arabia. Especially when you are talking to Police, you need to keep your tone as lower as you can. Second, they are Saudi Police officers, so do not even expect from them to be pleasant to you.

In case, you meet with a traffic accident. Don’t move your vehicle from the place it met with the traffic accident. If you want to know about the process you need to adopt if you meet with some traffic accident, please read this detailed article.

In case, if due to any problem you have to go to the police station (I pray you don’t face this situation), you should never ever sign any document there. Call the government relations officer (Mandoob) of your company there. He is also Saudi, so never expect that he will be coming in few minutes. Give him several hours and then he will come. He will be dealing with the police after his arrival. If you have not done anything wrong, you don’t need to worry. Your Mandoob will handle the whole situation; you should act according to the instructions given to you by him.

There are checkpoints at the entrance and exit of every city. Moreover, you may have seen some policemen standing on the road checking the documents of the cars. This is a temporary checkpoint. Whenever you see any of them, keep in mind that you need to reduce the speed of your vehicle and take their permission before going. Permission can be given just with the node of the head as well. Even if he does not stop you, it is your duty to stop and ask him. Otherwise, you may have to face serious consequences. Always keep original Iqama, Istamara (Car Registration), Driving License and vehicle insurance with you.

If some policemen stop you and want to talk to you, you should roll down the full window. Partial rolling down will be treated as an insult and you cannot afford to insult them in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, remember that policeman is standing in the hot Sun; his blood pressure is already high. So you should not do anything to irritate him.

As soon as he stops you, switch off the music from your car but don't switch off the headlights until you are required by the officer to do so.

If a policeman is asking you to park the car, never try to be James Bond. You should park your car exactly where he is asking you to do.

If he is asking you to come out, please be careful. You should not put your hands in the pockets of the pants or in the coat before coming out. You should keep your hands on the steering of the vehicle. He is asking you to come out since he is thinking you are suspicious. Getting the hands into pant or coat will give him feeling that you are bringing out some arms. In some instances, I have heard that policemen (of some other country) started firing car passenger was just trying to pull out his mobile from the pocket. Never ever take this risk in front of policemen.

Don’t chew gum in front of the policemen. They may treat it as an insult.

If you are wearing sunglasses, you should remove them while talking to policemen in Saudi Arabia.

First of all, this is not allowed in Saudi Arabia to talk to passengers on the mobile phone while driving. However, even if you are talking to someone, disconnect the call. Don’t give him feeling that you are talking to someone on the mobile. Check the below link as well “SR 15,000 Fine, 1 Night in Jail and 30 Days Vehicle Confiscation if caught using Mobile while Driving

Last but not the least, in fact, most important tip is to hear from the policemen in a very friendly gesture with a smile on your face even if you are not understanding Arabic. A smile should be a friendly smile, not a humiliating one. After hearing from him, just speak in a good accent that you don’t understand Arabic. Can you please speak to me in English? If this is a normal situation, he will just let you pass. It works 9/10 times. But try to be as cooperative with the policemen as you can.