Brigadier Abdul Raheem Bin Shafee, Director of Al Barsha Police Station, Dubai, during an interview with Gulf News. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: People who try to commit suicide are victims not criminals, a top police official at the Al Barsha Police Station said.

Speaking to Gulf News in an exclusive interview, Brigadier Abdul Raheem Bin Shafe’ei, director of the Al Barsha Police Station, said the station had implemented a unique initiative to support those who attempt to take their own lives by extending support to help them tackle the deeper problem.

Called ‘Window of Hope’, the initiative helps people who try to commit suicide without punishing them.

“The initiative aims to help people who suffer psychological pressure and have problems which lead them to suicide attempts. Officers sit with the person to provide social support while a doctor works towards rehabilitation. It is part of the Dubai Police strategy to spread happiness in the emirate,” Brig Bin Shafe’ei said.

According to the UAE law, a person who attempts to end his or her life is punishable with a prison term of up to six months or a fine of up to Dh5,000, or both.

Attempted suicides were being punished according to the law earlier, said Brig Bin Shafe’ei, but treatment, not punishment, is the main focus now.

“The idea is to provide support to such people and deal with them as victims who need moral support and help. We study the reasons which led to them to take such a step and enable them to return to normal life.”

In a recent incident, a female teacher who tried to end her life by cutting her wrist was promptly rescued and rehabilitated.

“She had a problem and tried to commit suicide. We coordinated with prosecution and the school to understand her situation. We convinced the school to give her vacation and let her travel to her home country,” said Brig Bin Shafe’ei.

He said ‘Window of Hope’ will be implemented in all police stations in the emirate in the future.

Sense of safety

Such initiatives, along with other security programmes, had raised the sense of safety among Al Barsha residents to 98.6 per cent last year, compared to 97.4 per cent in 2017.

Al Barsha police station is ranked first among other police stations in terms of sense of security. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“Al Barsha police station covers residential, commercial and industrial areas beside many government bodies and educational institutes. The station ranked first among other police stations in terms of sense of security,” said Brig Bin Shafe’ei.

Al Barsha station, which covers 412 square kilometres of Dubai, has intensified patrols, installed more surveillance cameras and expedited its response in emergencies to reduce crimes, he added.

Financial cases

Al Barsha police station settled bounced cheque and other financial crime cases worth Dh868 million last year, compared to Dh669 million in 2017.

Brig Bin Shafe’ei said the station tried to reach a settlement between the two parties before registering a case.

“We always try to make settlements in financial cases by sitting with the two sides in the cases. Our continued efforts in 2019 helped settle cases worth Dh429.2 million.”

The biggest settlement was for a European man who had issued a bounced cheque worth Dh306 million to a property developer.

Brig Bin Shafe’ei, said that the man had another bounce cheque worth Dh175 million, but officers helped make a settlement between the man and the developer.

Year of tolerance

The station organised a gathering of representatives from different religious faiths to see how best top spread tolerance.

“We had an initiative to raise the awareness about tolerance and forgiveness among inmates, by sending a special needs woman to different police stations and talk with inmates about her achievements despite her disability. She encouraged them to settle their problems in a friendly way and spread happiness,” Brig Bin Shafe’ei said.

Brig Bin Shafe’ei urged the public to use online services, smart police station at Palm Jumeirah and the drive through station at Arabian Ranches.