The horses training at the Dubai mounted Police facility in Al Aweer. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News

Dubai: While Dubai Police have been making headlines with their supercars that feature the latest in technology, the Dubai Police Mounted Police Department remains an integral part of the force.

The department, which falls under the Criminal Investigation Department at Dubai Police, was established in 1976 by Lt. Colonel Mohammad Eisa Al Addab.

Lt. Colonel Al Addab, who today serves as the Director of the department, is an equestrian expert and international referee in the sport.

The Dubai Police Mounted Police Department has two stables, a small one in Al Ghusais and a large one in Al Aweer.

Lieutenant Dahi Al Jallaf, Acting Director of the Dubai Mounted Police Department, took Gulf News on a tour of the department’s stables in Al Aweer.

The department has around 100 horses at a time making allowances for normal turnover, Lt. Al Jallaf said. Currently, there are around 70 horses in Al Aweer stables and 28 in Al Ghusais.

“The department has two main roles, a security role and a social role,” he said, adding that the use of horses in police work reflects the heritage of the country.

“We use horses for patrols in areas where it is difficult for cars to patrol or enter and also in narrow roads or crowded areas,” Lt. Al Jallaf explained.

Lt. Al Jallaf, added that Lt. Colonel Al Addab had a big role in the growth and development of the department, both in its administrative aspects and its policing role.

Preventing crimes, patrolling residential and commercial areas, and riot control are the key aspects of the department’s security role.

As part of its social role, the department reaches out to children with special needs, with the horses being key to the therapy. This initiative is in collaboration with the Community Development Authority (CDA). “The children go to our stables in Al Ghusais with their specialists, volunteers and our trainers. There is also an ambulance on standby,” says Lt. Al Jallaf.

The horses at the department are assigned different roles. Some are trained for riot control, some for parades and events, some for patrols and some help encourage children with disabilities to open up to the world. There are also horses that represent the department in endurance races, Lt. Al Jallaf added.

Horses used in riot control operations step in during work stoppages and football matches. These horses undergo special training that helps them get used to loud noises, crowds and instruments used in riot control.

“In the UAE, there is hardly any need for riot control,” said Lt. Al Jallaf. He added that often the requirement is merely to maintain a police presence at gatherings.

The health of the horses is of critical importance for the functioning of the department, he said. “The veterinarian is available round the clock. The medical team also carries out daily check-ups in the morning and again when the horses return from their patrols.”

The department has around 60 riders. “Riders need to be very fit and healthy and should have not had any recent injuries or operations.”

The horses of the department, which are former racehorses, are chosen by a team that includes the veterinarian and trainers. He said that they choose horses that will be able to measure up to the police work required of them.

Patrols are sent out according to the daily schedule, Lt. Al Jallaf said, adding that some days three may be called up and, on other days, six.

The areas covered by mounted police patrols include Al Ghusais, Mirdif, Jumeirah, Satwa, Al Bada’a, Al Twar, Naif and Umm Rafa’ah.

The night patrols start at around 10.30pm and end at around 5am. However, there is a special patrol at Jumeirah Beach Residence that starts at 6.30pm, where the officers wear the uniform used for special occasions. This patrol, Lt. Al Jallaf said, is both for tourists to see and also to enforce a police presence in the area.