- Col. Mona Surour Al Shuwaihi, a mother of three, has bagged 15 awards over 31-year career as a police officer.
- She is the first female officer appointed as deputy director of Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishments.
- It shows the active role women continue to play in the country’s security apparatus, thanks to the UAE’s significant drive towards gender balance.
Sharjah: Col. Mona Surour Al Shuwaihi of Sharjah Police is a testimony to what women can achieve in a nation noted for its signficant drive towards women’s empowerment.
Known as the “happiness ambassador” of the force, Col. Al Shuwaihi is a trailblazer in her own right, proving that policing is not just a man’s domain. Her journey as an officer is a testament to Emirati women’s authenticity and authentic Arab values.
Rising through the ranks
The mother of three children — two boys and a girl — is an epitome of grit. Her drive springs from a desire to excel.
In 1991, after obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the UAE University, she joined the force as a second lieutenant.
After she passed the special military training, she was initially assigned to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and forensic lab.
After being commissioned as an officer, she worked with the CID for six years as an expert assistant for chemical analyses at the forensic lab.
She helped crack crime mysteries.
She took self development seriously by taking up specialisation courses to brush up her crime-figting knowledge and skills. And rose through the ranks.
Fast forward 31 years, and her position testifies to women’s important role in the country’s security apparatus.
Spirit of positivity
In her job with Sharjah Police, Col Al Shuwaihi has rewritten the perception on women’s role in police work.
Her passion for police work — and engaging with the community — led her to fulfilling her dreams.
Col. Al Shuwaihi has made great strides in supporting victims’ issues and added to the institution a spirit of excellence and positivity.
In 1997, she moved to the Department of Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishments.
Two years later, she was appointed Director of the Women’s Prison Branch in 1999 — making her the first female officer to hold the position at that time.
In 2019, she moved to the Department of Social Support for a year-and-a-half as its director.
In 2021, she returned to the Department of Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishments in her current position.
Col. Al Shuwaihi views challenges as opportunities, in the process earning rewards for being adept at wearing many hats.
Throughout her 31-year career, Col. Al Shuwaihi won 15 awards from Ministry of Interior, as well as other award-giving bodies.
For two consecutive years, from 2018-2019, Col. Al Shuwaihi won first place in the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Award for Excellence and Artificial Intelligence.
In 2019, she also won the Sharjah Volunteer Award for the dental implant project for inmates she spearheaded.
In 2021, she bagged an award for the best public communication initiative in the Sharjah Government Communication Awards.
It was her work at the penal institution that prompted her to volunteer in many fields. Col. Al Shuwaihi is also involved in community service, having adopted many initiatives.
In 2009, she volunteered for the Emirates Red Crescent team, where she remains active.
She led a number of teams, including the supervision of the services of the Penal Institution 2030, the human rights team at the Sharjah Police General Command, and the deputy of “Sanad” Team, to empower the families of inmates.
She was the first to develop a women’s force for rapid intervention in state prisons. She is also head of the Prisoners’ Quality of Life Team.
Col. Al Shuwaihi is a certified lecturer and established the first project in the country to take care of the children of inmates (known as “Dar Al Aman”) and was given the title of “Happiness Ambassador”.
In 2022, out of 250 participants, Col. Al Shuwaihi was among the 22 honoured as Emirates Women’s Awardee, under the Distinguished Female Employee category.
What motivates her to go the extra mile?
Speaking exclusively to Gulf News, Col. Al Shuwaihi said: “I wanted to highlight the role of the Sharjah Police General Command and its continuous support for female police officers.
“That way, I could set an example for other women in the Ministry of Interior and motivate them to participate, to encourage Emirati women to continue to develop themselves.”
The award includes 4 main criteria: the extent to which a person contributes in guiding others; influencing them positively through sharing of experiences; investing in and empowering others to achieve their institutional and individual goals; and achieving a balance between professional and personal commitments.
Colonel Al Shuwaihi works with 450 male and female employees in the Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishments. The inmates are her primary responsibility.
She lauds the drive towards women empowerment in all fields of police work, with support from Sharjah Police General Command.
“Since my early days in the force, I became more familiar with the daily challenges, my appetite to take on more tasks grew. I trained further by taking up specialisation courses.”
Col. Al Shuwaihi handled challenges before her and proved to be an excellent asset as she worked on many crucial investigations reported to the force.
“My experience as a police officer over the past 31 years proves that women’s role in this field is as crucial as men’s.
“They excel in cases involving women and children — for their ability to obtain statements with witnesses from both categories and show more flexibility when approached by a female officer.”
She added: “The Sharjah Police, under the directives of Major General Saif Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, provides women with extraordinary support and empowers them to engage in various fields, which I am exceedingly grateful for.”
For her efforts in balancing excellent work and her role as a mother, she was awarded Emirates Women’s Award for the Distinguished Female Employee category.
“My parents and my husband are my biggest supporters.”