The State of the Police in Western Yemen

Shaima Bin Othman

Mareike Transfeld

YPC Research Debrief   •   January 31, 2020


Across the country, Yemenis share the desire for functioning security institutions. In a survey conducted by the Yemen Polling Center (YPC) in 2019 about police-related issues, 61 percent of respondents across Yemen indicated that they wanted the police to have authority; nearly 45 percent indicated they wanted police to have authority over security provision. Yet this is far from the reality in Yemen today, where the state lacks the capacity to create a unified police on many different levels. Civil war and foreign military intervention, as well as pre-existing societal and political differencesin Yemen, have fragmented the state into several territories with competing and sometimes overlapping authorities and interests. This has led to a complex security arrangement in Yemen. Police capacity thus depends on the group that claims authority in their respective area. While some capacity deficits are crosscutting, others are unique to particular regions.