Bahrain's police chief said that investigations have been launched into alleged police misconduct during home searches, but challenged those who had any evidence to present it to the competent authorities.
"Whoever levels accusations and has evidence should present them and we are fully ready to investigate the cases," Major-General Tariq Al Hassan said.
"We simply reject accusations that lack proof and cannot accept that policemen doing their duties at all times be accused without evidence," he told the media in Manama.
The opposition saidd that policemen have entered dozens of homes and searched them amid claims that their behaviour was improper.
However, Al Hassan said that the home searches were part of the investigation launched after the discovery in June of a "highly explosive bomb factory".
"Throughout the extensive investigation over the past two months, detectives have had to enter and search numerous residences of friends and family members of the suspects," he said. "These searches were completely legal under Bahraini law and were overseen by the Public Prosecutor. Some of these searches were conducted late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Understandably, some residents were upset and, in some cases, made allegations of improper police procedure. Additionally, opposition groups have alleged serious police misconduct has occurred, including the theft of large sums of money," he said.
Al Hassan said that the interior minister took the allegations seriously."While he has full confidence that the investigators conducted themselves properly, he also understands that individual officers might have acted in an inappropriate way that may harm the investigation or dishonour to the police forces. Therefore he has ordered an investigation into all allegations of police misconduct concerning this investigation. Any officer found to have violated proper procedures will be disciplined or, if warranted, arrested," he said at the conference.
Al Hassan noted that 14 cases have been reported against policemen since the start of 2012 and that 10 cases have been referred to the concerned authorities, including courts, while four are still under investigation.
"The interior ministry has compensated a number of people affected by the unintentional mistakes, disbursing approximately $250,000," he said.
Al Hassan said that around 700 policemen have been targeted by violent gangs and injured on the job.
However, Al Hassan said that NGOs and political societies have lapsed into silence and failed to condemn the illegal homemade explosive factories or the regular physical and verbal attacks on policemen.
"The explosives were hidden inside a store in a crowded neighbourhood and near a community centre visited by people of various ages. The slightest mistake would have caused a terrible tragedy and innocent people would have been killed. Yet, there was not enough courage to condemn this behaviour," he said.