Policing can take many forms, but when a programme has an effective and immediate result in cutting crime statistics then clearly it is one that is a success — and those behind the initiative should indeed be acknowledged for their work. Over the past year, Dubai Police has developed and implemented the Schools Security initiative. And statistics compiled by the department show that there has been a 38 per cent decline in anti-social behaviours by youths in both public and private schools. In real terms, incidents of bullying, harassment, cases related to teenage smoking and fights between students have declined dramatically, with recorded incidents falling by more than a third.
The Schools Security initiative makes sure that there’s a physical presence of police officers in schools in Dubai, and that presence means that there are less anti-social incidents among students. As well as reducing these incidents of misbehaviour, the scheme also has the benefit of focusing on those who may engage in such incidents to instead put their energies into studies. It’s a win-win situation.
Pertinently, there were just 23 incidents of anti-social behaviour in Dubai schools participating in the programme this year, compared to 37 incidents during the previous year.
Clearly, it’s having results — but there is an added benefit too in that students have developed a trust in the officers placed in schools, building relationships that pay dividends in the long term.
During 2018, Dubai Police officers made more than 400 individual visits to some 270 public and private schools across the emirate as part of the initiative.
The police use the school visits as an opportunity to make their presence felt in the areas around the school, carrying out traffic checks and monitoring driving habits. And they are also having an effect in reducing traffic complaints in the immediate vicinity of schools, with traffic incidents falling from 43 complaints in 2017 to 29 in the present year.
The community policing initiative also helps build bridges in the community. It enhances the standing of police officers and generates trust between youths, who might otherwise not have contacts with officers or authority figures, and the police. These community police initiatives ought to be encouraged and developed further — not just because they have proven results, which the statistics bear out, but because they are efforts that reflect best policing practises. Kudos to this policing initiative, and kudos to those behind its success.