In this file photo, the Jumeirah neighborhood is seen with the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, visible in the distance in Dubai. Image used for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The Dubai Police community policing initiative ‘Policeman in Your Neighbourhood’ contributed to a 15 per cent drop in crime reports filed across Dubai neighbourhoods last year, the director of Crime Prevention Department at Dubai Police revealed.

Colonel Aref Ali Bishoh

Colonel Aref Ali Bishoh, director of the Crime Prevention Department at the General Department of Criminal Investigation, said Policeman in Your Neighbourhood serves as a liaison between the police and members of the public by addressing security issues, reducing the crime rate, following up on police’s community reports and helping people in residential districts.

Launched in 2013 by the Crime Prevention Department, the initiative has handled 1,400 cases over the last two years. The initiative runs on a prevention methodology that addresses issues head-on, improves services, provides reports on infrastructure to concerned authorities when necessary, and organises activities and after-school programmes and workshops to raise youth awareness, police said.

Col Bishoh said the initiative’s team had contributed effectively to spreading security awareness among Dubai citizens and residents and building a positive community relationship by establishing a strong communication channel to receive complaints and resolve disputes amicably.

“Dubai Police was keen on continuously developing the initiative by reviewing international best practices of community policing initiatives in Japan, France, Netherlands, Norway, Australia, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States, to improve the initiative’s mechanism, qualify officers’ and determine the scope of authority and jurisdiction,” he added.

Meanwhile, Captain Hmmoud Muhammad Al Muqbali, head of the Community Police Department in the Crime Prevention Department, said the initiative has attracted more than 800 volunteers from Dubai Police and the public. Since the volunteers are expected and assigned to work directly with their neighbours, they were chosen based on skills covers language, communication skills, problem-solving, and teamwork.

Al Muqbali said Policeman in Your Neighbourhood teams have participated in 15 events and handled several humanitarian cases over the years.

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Notable cases

“Our volunteers had taken a case for a 14-year-old who asked the police for help with family conflicts that she had been going through. With delicate and careful care, the concerned authorities solved her problem and engaged Dubai Foundation for Women and Children to follow up on her case with her family,” he said.

“The Initiative team also returned an Asian five-year-old boy to his family after he got lost from his house in one of Dubai’s neighbourhoods,” he continued.

“The Department also carried out an initiative, targeting 480 construction workers in Al Barsha and Al Khawaneej, to lessen the effects of heat by distributing cold water and beverages.”