From left: Major Arif Ali Bishoh, Abdullah Al Shwaikh and Captain Abdullah Mohammad Al Saadi during a session titled Behind the Crime Scene at the Emirates Literature Festival.
Dubai: “When I entered the room, she was lying face down on the ground in a pool of blood while our photographer was taking pictures of the crime scene.”
This is how one of the stories in the Dubai ‘Police Stories’ book begins.
Another story is based on Argentinian burglars, part of an organised international gang, who were arrested by the Dubai Police. “We are not afraid of mentioning the names of powerful gangs or of any vengeance from them if they read the story,” said Major Arif Ali Bishoh, from Criminal Investigation Department in Dubai Police. “We have the Organised Crimes Department in Dubai Police to tackle and ban dangerous gangs or wanted people from entering the country,” he added.
Dubai Police’s initiative of encouraging their officers to turn to crime fiction is an endeavour that is inspired by true-life cases and follows in the footsteps of crime novelists who have been thrilling readers with precise information on police procedural and crime detection for over a century. Dubai Police said they already have published three books titled ‘Police Stories’ in Arabic and the fourth edition will be ready in April, in addition to having two editions in English soon. Dubai Police is also planning to turn the books into a movie or TV series.
Captain Abdullah Al Saadi with a copy of Police Stories.
Arshad Ali/Gulf News
Captain Abdullah Mohammad Al Saadi, Director of Sports, Social and Cultural Activities at Dubai Police Officers’ Club, said the police officers, taking a cue from their observations of the cases they handle on a daily basis, decided to have a go at crime fiction.
Speaking on the sidelines at the Emirates Festival of Literature that held a session on crime fiction, Capt. Al Saadi said, “Dubai Police is keen to spread awareness of [crime detection] through the books. The officers are tapping into their creativity and imagination to write the stories. Most of them are based on true stories.”
Dubai Police launched a contest last year to select the best stories written by [the] officers and chose 100 stories. There are four [compilations] containing 25 stories in each edition. The stories are all in Arabic currently but there will be an English translation of two editions which is expected to be released in the coming months to cater to the English-speaking readership.
Following a suggestion in 2006 by an officer in the police force to have officers share their stories through fiction, Dubai Police, in coordination with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, has released three books since 2008, each book representing a colour of the Emirati flag to lend the endeavour a national identity.
“The books aim to educate the public through exciting stories that hold an element of suspense. It will help highlight the officer’s role in enabling and upholding security across Dubai. We fight crime through education and reading,” Captain Al Saadi added.
He claimed that when members of the public read the books, they will be able to ascertain how a crime occurs. “One of the readers told me that he once saw an unclaimed bag in a metro station and he immediately contacted Dubai Police because he had read a story that referred to a similar incident. Some stories in crime fiction can occur in a real-life situation and people [then] know what to do in that circumstance due to having read that story,” said Capt. Al Saadi.
Currently, the books are not available for the public and Dubai Police is only distributing them to visiting delegations. “The book was distributed to officers and a few members of the public. We plan to make it available to the public soon,” Captain Al Saadi said.
Stories in the books include murders, rape, drug trafficking, robberies, fraud and child kidnapping.
Major Ali Bishoh however added that though there are stories based on the kidnapping of children, the fact is that, “Dubai is a safe city and we have few incidents of child abductions.”
Each book will be of 350 pages, and include approximately 25 stories. The third edition was released in October 2015, during the 8th edition of the Dubai Police Book Exhibition.