The Command and Control Room of Dubai Police at the headquarters in Dubai. Dubai Police aim to reduce the response time to emergency cases to within 15 minutes. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Tourists can call the emergency numbers prevalent in their home countries to call Dubai Police when visiting here, a senior police officer said.

"If a person comes from the US where you are used to dialling 911 for emergency help or if you are used to calling 711 in Argentina, you can do so here [to reach Dubai Police]," said Colonel Omar Abdullah Al Shamsi, Director of the Command and Control Room.

"It has minimised the time required to rescue visitors who need police help," he said. The police responded to nearly 460,000 calls for help during the first quarter of this year.

He told Gulf News the control room of Dubai police responded to 450.883 calls in the first quarter of this year, a little less than in the same period the previous year.

"We have a goal to answer the calls on 999 or 901 within three rings, which is about 10 seconds," he said.

"More than 99.8 per cent of calls were responded to speedily during the first quarter of this year, beyond our target of 95 per cent," he said.

He said the number 999 is for emergencies only. Another service was introduced by the Command and the Control Room through 901.

"The service was inaugurated on October 20 last year, for inquiries that are not related to offering emergency help in order to lessen the load of calls on 999," Col Al Shamsi said.

The number 901 deals with people's complaints and suggestions, provides people with general information about addresses, locations and phone numbers of the police departments and police stations, and information about Dubai Police events. The centre will also provide required information and forms to people via e-mail or fax.

Most efficient

"The 901 centre has been linked with special programmes related to customer services not found in 999," he said

Col Al Shamsi said there were more than 1.9 million calls received on 999 in 2010, compared with more than 2.1 million in 2009.

He said on average 6,000 calls are received a day by the police on 999. "We take each and every call throughout the day," he said.

Col Al Shamsi noted that the control room of "Dubai Police is the most efficient call centre worldwide".

The desired goal in the strategy of Dubai Police (2010-2015) is to attend to emergency incidents within 15 minutes.

As for non-emergency incidents, it is within 30 minutes, which achieved a response rate of 90 per cent.

All personnel assigned to answer calls on 999 go through intensive training in various languages and on the methods of answering calls, in addition to customer service skills. They also have skills to calm down callers, especially frustrated or nervous ones.

Quick response

The command and control centre job also includes sending patrols to the sites of accidents as quickly as possible, compile criminal and traffic reports and respond quickly to calls.

The percentage of non-emergency incidents in the first quarter of this year reached 97.18 per cent as compared to 85.73 per cent during the same period last year, when the target was 90 per cent.

The percentage of police patrols reaching emergency sites was 93.18 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 compared to 78.46 per cent during the same period of 2010 when the target was 90 per cent.

The number 901 received 9,000 calls a day in the first quarter of 2011 compared to 3,344 calls in 2010.

Col Al Shamsi said the Command and Control Room has 30 dedicated personnel round the clock to take calls on 999.

The control room can accommodate 75-80 members of staff and has nine sections.

The facility also houses a criminal investigation control section and traffic accident control section.