Dubai: Around 261 volunteers in Dubai Police’s mounted unit played a key role in educating the society about precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, an official said on Tuesday.
Captain Khalifa Al Room, the Director of Dubai Police Volunteer Platform, said that volunteers from 26 different nationalities became part of community policing in a step to promote the culture of volunteering.
“The initiative was launched in June this year to allow volunteers to ride Dubai Police horses and spread awareness about the pandemic. The force is always keen on promoting the culture of volunteering to ensure sustainable development and making sure that our message reaches more people in the emirate,” Captain Al Room said.
The voluntary initiative titled ‘Ride with Dubai Mounted Police Unit’ attracted more than 1,000 volunteers who applied to be a part of it through the Dubai Police website. “The initiative includes sessions to educate volunteers about protective measures before distributing them across the emirate.”
Volunteers are joining Dubai Police officers in spreading awareness at Al Khawaneej, Al Warqa, Al Bada’a, Umm Suqeim, Al Barsha, City Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residences and the Boulevard.
‘Ensuring volunteers’ safety’
“Volunteers are expected to be physically fit, at least 21 years old and possess official jockey apparel to be part of the mounted police unit. A supervisor and integrated work team will be present to ensure volunteers’ safety in each jurisdiction area. We will provide police vests, protective equipment and a paramedic in case of emergencies,” Captain Al Room added.
Mounted police unit provided the logistical support by transporting the horses to the volunteers in different areas and returning them to the stables after they finished their work.
What do the volunteers say?
Khulood Al Hosani, a 28-year-old Emirati volunteer who works for Dubai Customs, said that she started following her passion of riding horses when she was eight years old. She applied as a volunteer with Dubai Police mounted unit to be part of a team that works to increase awareness about the pandemic and the role of community policing.
“It was an exceptional initiative by Dubai Police that I had not seen in most countries outside the UAE. As an Emirati horse rider, I’m proud of being part of the initiative and thanks to Dubai Police for giving me the chance,” she said.
“I learned a lot more through this initiative as it is quite challenging to control a horse inside a buzzing city with all its lights and with so many people gathering around us,” she added.
Meanwhile, Fleur Vos from the Netherlands, who works for her country’s consulate in Dubai, told Gulf News that after being a resident in the emirate for ten years, it was her dream to join the mounted unit of Dubai Police. “I’m riding horses for 20 years and I was dreaming to work with the mounted police unit. They have a great experience on how to deal with horses and volunteering work has added many skills to me,” said Vos.
“We alert people to wear their masks and guide them to the nearest police station to solve their problems as well as help them trace lost-and-found items. I liked it in a way that I want to go with volunteers every day.”
For 35-year-old Georgios Paraskevaides from Cyprus, horses mean everything in his life. Despite being a busy cabin crew with Emirates airline, Paraskevaides finds time to pursue his passion. “I’m in UAE for ten years now and I have a passion for horses. I even teach horse riding in the Al Qusais area of Dubai and I am a volunteer with Dubai Police. Many people like my presence in different areas of the city and want to take pictures with the horses and us riders. It is a great experience,” he added.
Volunteers educate communities
Captain Al Room said Dubai Police will save the records of all volunteers for future initiatives and activates in the emirate. “Volunteers from different nationalities can spread awareness and messages from the police to community members. We aim to reach the people and break the barriers to have a secure and happy city,” added Al Room.
Glavino Xu Zhenhu, a 38-year-old volunteer from China, who works as an engineer, used social media platforms to circulate videos about the initiative, with subtitles, to educate fellow citizens about the vital role played by Dubai Police in promoting volunteering work.
‘We love Dubai’
“I’m a resident of Dubai since 2007 and a horse rider for eight years. We love Dubai and we feel we are a part of this country. It is our responsibility to give part of our time to the city and work as volunteers. I decided to make videos and post them on social media to educate others,” said Zhenhu.
According to official records, the Mounted Police Station deployed 2,298 horse patrols in 2020 and performed security checks on 4,580 individuals and 11,562 vehicles, seized 209 wanted vehicles, issued 47 traffic fines and fined 5,146 violators of COVID-19 precautionary measures.