Schools security imitative , Police official at a classroom on the first day of school. Image Credit: Dubai Police

Dubai: Incidents of bullying, smoking and fights reported in Dubai-based public and private schools dropped by more than a third this year, thanks to preventive efforts aimed at reducing bad behaviour among youth, officials said on Wednesday.

A decline of 38 per cent in recorded complaints were attributed to the ‘Schools Security’ initiative by Dubai Police.

Brigadier Saeed Hamad Bin Sulaiman, Director of Al Rashidiya police station and the Schools Security initiative, said it is producing strong results.

“There was a reduction in the number of complaints from schools. This year, we have 23 complaints compared to 37 complaints in 2017. We have officers in each police station just to follow up and solve the schools’ problems. We built a strong relationship of trust with the students and schools’ staff,” Brig Bin Sulaiman said.

The visible presence of officers on school grounds appears to be making a difference.

Dubai Police officers made more than 400 on-site visits to 270 government and private schools this year, a 100 per cent increase from last year. “The initiative also helped to reduce the number of traffic complaints around schools from 43 complaints last year, to 29 complaints in 2018. The initative helped to raise awareness among pupils and schools’ staff,” he said.

Brigadier Abdul Raheem Bin Shafe’ei, Director of Al Barsha Police Station, said the initiative is part of Dubai Police’s plan to secure roads around schools to enhance student safety and to establish a friendlier relationship between children and policemen, as the latter are usually portrayed as authority figures who need to be feared by children.

Brigadier Bin Shafe’ei said: “We wanted to create a new channel between schools and the police. We assigned officers to schools in order to guide the pupils, school staff and parents and to communicate with them about their problems,” Brig Bin Shafe’ei added. “We have future plans until 2021, like adopting international best practices in securing schools and visiting students who skip schools for a week, have sessions with them and their parents to know their issues,” Brig Bin Sulaiman added.

Dubai Police will start a project called ‘Future Officer’ in June 2019. “Each school will nominate two students and we will train them. Those students will be setting a good example to their classmates and can alert us about any problems in their schools,” Brig Bin Sulaiman said.

Brigadier Yousuf Al Adidi, Director of Al Ghusais police station, said there will be a smart application soon for police to receive complaints, ideas and answer questions of students and their parents.

“They can call 901 if they have any problem, and we will have an application on smartphones to receive any enquiry. We want to reach 100 per cent of happiness by 2021 for all students, parents and schools principles,” Brig Al Adidi said.