A Saudi religious police officer issued a rare apology on Tuesday for the beating by its personnel of a British man residing in the kingdom in a supermarket in the capital Riyadh.
The Commission of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice said it was re-assigning four of its staff to administrative duty after a video emerged over the weekend of the men in a confrontation with a foreign man.
The Briton, who has not been officially identified, was in a women-only checkout aisle at a supermarket in the conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom on Friday when the officers approached him, in a spat which devolved into an assault on the man and his Saudi wife.
"The commission apologises to the resident and his wife," the body said in a statement, saying the men overstepped their authority in accosting the couple and not contacting a superior.
Public mixing between the sexes is frowned upon in Saudi Arabia and Virtue and Vice personnel patrol public places to prevent it and other perceived violations of Islamic morality.