Cairo Governor Galal Saeed announced on Tuesday that heads of neighborhoods have been granted the power of arrest to facilitate the management of the capital’s streets, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.
This would allow the heads of neighborhoods rights that are typically reserved for law enforcement personnel, including arresting and detaining individuals caught in the act and filing a report directly to prosecutors without having to go through police officers.
It also allows them to search suspects, issue subpoenas, summon witnesses and barricade crime scenes.
Neighborhood heads are appointed by governors to manage the affairs of their designated areas.
The new powers, as announced by the governor, are hoped to further facilitate an ongoing “order and cleanliness campaign” in Cairo.
The governor said that the decision aims to support a campaign for more efficient garbage collection systems and a clamping down on unofficial street dwellers.
A growing campaign is currently targeting illegal street vendors in Cairo.
There has been an expansion of those with the authority to arrest since 2012, when the Justice Ministry granted the power to several governmental institutions claiming it necessary for the maintenance of order.
However, some have criticized the move as a violation of civil rights, claiming it increases the potential for miscarriages of justice.
Some of those who gained the power of arrest in recent years include Ministry of Endowments employees, inspectors in the Local Development Ministry and university guards.