Ramallah: For Major Majid Faqih, the two-week exercise in Al Rawya desert in the UAE was one of the most difficult challenges he had ever undertaken in his life.
He fondly recalls his four years of cadet training with the Dubai Police Academy (DPA) in 2001.
Despite the searing mid-August temperatures, Faqih said it was an experience that gave him important insights on endurance training that he has stuck with to this day.
The cadets had limited supplies of drinking water and had to work as a team to complete the challenge, Faqih recalls. “We were forced to walk 30 km per day in the desert carrying full gear and walked back 65 km from the exercise field to DPA in Dubai; the exercises were extremely challenging, and I lost a lot of weight,” he told Gulf News in Ramallah this week.
Faqih is one of dozens of Palestinian police cadets from the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) to have completed the training programme at the DPA.
The PCP regards cadets who participated in the DPA programme among its most qualified officers, senior PCP sources told Gulf News.
A total of 107 PCP personnel have received basic and specialised intensive training courses at what the PCP Command says is the most advanced and professional police academy in the Middle East.
The PCP is tasked with ensuring security and order, fighting crimes and protecting public properties in the occupied West Bank. They also secure some 281 foreign diplomatic missions, banks and establishments round the clock, in addition to guarding foreign delegations and Palestinian National Authority ministers.
The Dubai Police Academy training programme for the Palestinian police started in 1998 and its courses mark the oldest continuous training programme for the force, which itself was established in 1994.
The academy offers five seats annually to PCP cadets, but Major General Hazem Attallah is keen to see that allocation increased.
Maj. Gen. Attallah says that due to the needs of a growing population, the force will grow from the current 8,500 to 11,000, meaning that there will recruiting and training is likely to pick up this year.
Fourteen Palestinian officers are currently training at the Dubai Police Academy and they will obtain BA and MA degrees, PCP sources confirmed.
Dubai Police Academy grants three seats for BA degrees, while two seats for MA degrees are allocated to the sons of senior Palestinian security officers.
Israeli restrictions on the entry of ammunition to the local training academy in Jericho means that critical shooting exercises can only be practised abroad.
Besides the DPA, PCP recruits also receive training at centres in Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
“I benefited from the cutting-edge technology,” Faqih says of his stint at the DPA, adding that he was able to pass on the knowledge he absorbed to his commrades in Jericho.
First Lieutenant Yousuf Juma’a is among the most recent graduates from the DPA.
He graduated in 2015 with the highest marks in the DPA’s history and was presented the sword of honour personally by Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
“It was one of the most proud moments of my life,” Juma’a told Gulf News.
He says the skills he learned at the academy have proven to be priceless. “I use them every day when I am patrolling the streets in occupied Jerusalem, particularly how to manage public anger,” he said.
He hopes to return to the academy to complete a Masters’ degree.
For Palestinian Colonel Abu Rub, the DPA graduates are easily among the best officers of the PCP. “They are well-educated and professional,” he told Gulf News.