General Directorate of Border Guard
Frontier Force / Coast Guard
The Frontier Force patrolled land borders and carried out customs inspections. The Coast Guard deployed its units from ports along the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea with a primary mission to prevent smuggling. Among its varied inventory of craft, the largest were four 210-ton offshore patrol craft acquired from West Germany in 1989. Two were based at Jiddah and two at Ad Dammam. The Coast Guard also had about thirty large patrol craft, 135 inshore patrol craft, and sixteen British-built Hovercraft. The strength of the Coast Guard was 4,500 as of 1992 and of the Frontier Force 10,500, according to The Military Balance.
King Abdulazi built the infrastructures of the organs of the state and began to think of some sort of force to guard the coasts of the Kingdom. In 1331 H, centers and patrols of the maritime surveillance, small sailing ships and camel riders were established in the eastern region to watch the coast.
In 1344 H, a first Coast Guard in Jeddah was established and organising the work of the patrols, seaports and harbors was started. In 1347 H, the work of the patrols, seaports and harbors in Jeddah was unified under one leadership, and was named the "Coast Guard"; and its work was limited to the Red Sea coast. Carrying out their work on foot or on camels backs, the patrols were mandated to monitor the coast within the territorial waters of Saudi Arabia, using primitive boats.
In 1353 H, the system of the "Directorate of Coast Guard" was issued, including all the provisions on the responsibilities and duties of the Coast Guard. Pursuant to which system, the directorate of coast guard was linked to the ministry of interior. In 1355 H, a new coast guard was established in the eastern region.
In 1382 H, a border armed-force was established. Both the coast guard in the eastern region and the coast guard in Jeddah were included, after consolidation, in the new border armed-force, which was renamed the "General Directorate of border armed-force, and coasts and seaports guard. In 1394 H, and based on Cabinet's Resolution No. 923, dated 19/6/1394H, a royal decree No. M / 26, dated 24/6/1394 H was issued approving the border security system; and the name was changed to the "General Directorate of Border Armed-force".
In 1399H, Minister of Interior's decision No. 2S/ 7074, dated 26/9/1399H, redefined responsibility of the border guard to watch and protect all seaports in the Kingdom instead of the public security. In the 1412 H, Minister of Interior's decision No. 85/5/SH, dated of 1/8/1412 H, amended the executive regulations of border security system.
In 1414H, a royal decree No. M/9, dated 16/7/1414H, was issued approving Cabinet's Resolution No. 76, dated 14/7/1414 H that has changed the name of the "General Directorate of Border Armed-force" to the "General Directorate of Border Guard".
Border Guard Duties:
- Guard the land and sea borders of the Kingdom, ports and harbours; and combat smuggling and infiltration taking into account the regulations in force.
- Early warning of any unusual movements on the border or close to it.
- Perform search and rescue operations; and provide guidance and assistance to sailing ships.
- Provide guidance and assistance to those wandering on the land borders.
- Monitor those on land and sea borders to make sure they adhere to the relevant rules and regulations.
- Control security within the ports and harbours.
- Co-operate with official bodies in the scope as stipulated in the regulations in force and required by the public interest.
In September 2014 Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah launched the first phase of a comprehensive border security project. Attendees were briefed on the progress made thus far on the initiative, dubbed the “King Abdullah project for Saudi border security.” Almost 3,400 people had been trained for the project by 60 trainers to ensure sustainability of operations.
The project includes the establishment of eight command and control centers, as well as 32 response centers along the border. Three teams have been formed for rapid intervention. In addition, 38 front and rear gates have been fitted with surveillance cameras, as well as 78 towers, of which 38 are communication towers equipped with 50 day- and night-view cameras and 40 are towers equipped with 85 observation platforms, 10 surveillance vehicles and 1.4 million meters of fiber optic network. A total of 50 radars and five security fences have been installed spanning a total length of 900 km.
This comprehensive equipment helped in reducing the number of infiltrators, drug smugglers and arms and cattle traffickers to virtually zero.
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