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According to officials, volunteers for community policing can speak many languages, have communication skills and can solve problems. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A contingent of 63 police officers, who are part of a community police initiative, has helped reduce crime rates in Dubai by 16.1 per cent over the last four years, an official told Gulf News.

Brigadier Mohammad Rashid Bin Sari, deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Department for Monitoring Affairs in Dubai Police, said that the ‘Policeman in Your Neighbourhood’ initiative was designed to help monitor security, close gaps and solve crime in residential areas of the emirate.

16.1%

decline in crime rate over the last four years in Dubai

“Officers spread awareness in their residential districts and encourage residents to communicate with Dubai Police if they experience any negative phenomena. They identify security problems in their areas like empty houses, exposed cables, suspect teen gatherings and dubious bachelor accommodations to solve problems,” said Brig Bin Sari.

The initiative helped spot 24 security flaws in first quarter of 2019. They included five abandoned buildings, 13 exposed electrical cables and six instances of grafitti being written on the walls. Nineteen complaints were also received from residents.

Officers spread awareness in their residential districts and encourage residents to communicate with Dubai Police if they experience any negative phenomena.

- Brigadier Mohammad Rashid Bin Sari | Deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Dubai Police

In 2018, the initiative helped spot 166 security flaws and received 72 complaints from residents. “The 63 officers are the link between the community and police. By plugging the security loopholes, the crime rate can be reduced in the emirate,” the officer said.

Lt Colonel Arif Ali Beshwa deputy director of Crime Prevention Department, told Gulf News that the officers are helping to solve minor incidents before them snowball into major issues.

63

police officers are part of a community policing initiative in Dubai

“They work in their neighbourhoods and communicate with families to solve minor disputes and problems before they develop into a real problem or crime. Reporting such issues helps find solutions for a safer city,” Lt Col Beshwa said.

He said that officers visited senior residents and educated them on how to contact the police during emergencies and even communicate with charity bodies to help needy families.

‘Establishing strong bonds’

“They even go to funerals in the area and offers condolences and attend weddings to establish strong bonds with the community,” added Lt Col Beshwa.

According to Shaikha Al Abdooli, director of Criminal Awareness Department at the Crime Prevention Department, when the initiative was launched in 2012, there were only six officers who were covering four areas in Dubai.

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Five abandoned buildings, 13 exposed electrical cables and six instances of wall grafitti have been spotted by community policing exercises until the first quarter of this year. Image Credit: Supplied

“The commander-in-chief of Dubai Police helped enhance and expand the initiative by launching a platform for officers who want to volunteer to be part of the initiative. Now we have 63 officers, including women, covering the emirate,” said Al Abdooli.

She said the volunteers can speak many languages and have communication skills and can solve problems. The officers gain the community’s trust because they are living in the same area and know the neighbours.

“Volunteers go through workshops to develop their skills in communicating and solving disputes in a professional way. “We want the community to help us by reporting any problem to the initiative,” added Al Abdooli.

A volunteer in the initiative who used to go in the morning to a nearby grocery shop everyday, noticed a group of students hanging out regularly at the shop. He discovered that they would escape from school and roam around in the area.

Al Abdooli said the officer brought the schools’ security guard to the grocery shop and returned the students to the school. “He sat with them to talk about the negative effects of their behaviour and how their future can be ruined if they continue to miss school. Later, the officer didn’t see them in the grocery shop. He helped raise awareness among youngsters. This is what we target,” Al Abdooli said.

How you can help the police
Call 901 if you spot any suspicious behaviour or activity.