Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (2nd from left) and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar (3rd) during a visit to Cairo's Police Academy on Thursday, Egypt, December 3, 2015 (Photo: El-Sisi's official Facebook page)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said during a seminar at a Cairo police academy on Thursday that individual violations by Egypt’s police should not take a toll on the rapport between the people and the security apparatus.
El-Sisi's remarks come amid increased reports of torture at police stations in recent weeks.
"We do not want individual practices to affect cohesion between the army, police, and the people," he told police officers gathering at the seminar.
"A mistake cannot be blamed on all people. It's not sensible that we accuse a [whole] apparatus because of an individual error" he added, arguing that the violations are "few and limited" compared to the number of police stations countrywide.
Last week, a policeman’s detention was ordered in Ismailiya pending investigations into torture resulting in the death of veterinarian Afify Houssni, after a video was released online purportedly showing policemen arresting Houssni from his pharmacy.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in the southern governorate of Luxor last week following the death in custody of 47-year-old father of four Talaat Shabeeb.
At least four policemen facing accusations of torture in this case were transferred from their post in Luxor to different governorates as a form of punishment until the probe is complete.
Last Thursday, the four-day detention of another police officer in Cairo was ordered pending an investigation into allegations of assault and abuse of power.
The officer was accused of assaulting a bus driver in the satellite city of 6 October over a traffic dispute, as well as conducting a false arrest.
Egypt’s interior ministry has maintained it respects human rights and that reports of violations and abuses represent “isolated incidents.”
The ministry said in a Sunday statement that probes into all the recent allegations of violations are underway. The ministry vows to respond with no leniency to “isolated incidents” involving members of the security forces.
During his address, El-Sisi urged security forces to work towards "more cohesion, self-sacrifice, and giving" to safeguard Egypt, saying that he “understands the magnitude of pressure [security forces] are subjected to in implementing security and fighting terrorism.”
Egypt’s security forces have long been reviled for human rights abuses and violence. Police brutality helped ignite the 2011 revolution that swept long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power.
Overhauling the notorious security apparatus has been a longstanding demand among activists.
Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the police have been lionised by local media and the press as the guardians of the nation in the declared war against terrorism in which many policemen have been killed.