Dahi Khalfan
Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and Public Security in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: In 50 years, Dubai has been transformed from a desert land to a remarkable, evolving metropolitan city.

While the growth and development of Dubai indeed constitute a fascinating tale, Dubai Police have played a crucial role in the emergence of the emirate as one of the safest cities in the world and one of the most sought-after destinations for trade, commerce, leisure and tourism. Here we have a person who has seen Dubai’s police force evolve through the decades. Meet Lieutenant-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security. Lieutenant-General Dhahi said that the UAE’s wise leadership always wanted the country to be in the first place in all sectors and thereby emerge as a source of inspiration for all other countries.

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‘A clear strategy’

“UAE enjoys high standards of security and safety because of tolerance, as we can see these days so many investors and celebrities owning properties and living in the country,” Lt Gen Tamim said. “It is a result of laws, legislations and procedures implemented by the UAE for many years based on a clear strategy.”

Lt Gen Dhahi, who was born in Dubai on October 1, 1951, was appointed as the deputy commander-in-chief of Dubai Police in 1979 and promoted to Dubai Police chief in 1980, a post he held until 2013.

During his years at the helm, Lt Gen Dhahi built a modern policing institute and was the catalyst in the continuing evolution of Dubai Police. “I had the honour to witness how late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan supported the cases of many Arab regions and solved their disputes,” he said.

I personally believe that any effort to enhance safe driving is useful in achieving our national goal of minimising fatalities on the roads, but also believe in penal actions as well in enforcing the law, says Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

UAE ‘doors are always open’

Lt Gen Dhahi also recalled the days of late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who was always keen to be close to the people and supported them during the early days of the union. “UAE has a unique leadership style as it builds communication channels with people. Their doors are always open and they encourage officials to follow in their steps. UAE’s citizens and residents will not face a problem without a solution,” he added.

He said that Dubai was keen to implement the ‘smart security’ concept by having surveillance cameras and artificial intelligence-aided equipment installed at key points to prevent crime.

“We have the most advanced surveillance cameras that can identify and detect body language to prevent crimes. Figures show that serious crimes have dropped in the last three years due to the use of AI, quick solving of criminal cases and timely arrests of criminals. The government always had a policy to develop the security system in the country.”

Recalling his early days

Lt Gen Dhahi said that when he appeared for his interview with Dubai Police, the then Dubai Police chief asked him for some suggestions on how to make the force even better.

“I replied that we should set up a forensics laboratory. He replied, saying that he would pretend he hadn’t heard that as he considered it absolutely unnecessary. Today, we are deploying the newest technology in detecting crimes and this makes our work so much more effective,” he said.

Lt Gen Dhahi attended the Royal Police College in Amman, Jordan, in 1970, and many training courses thereafter to become a criminal investigator. After graduating from the Police Academy in Amman, Jordan, he joined Dubai Police in 1970 as a criminal investigator. In 1980, he was appointed as Dubai Police Chief. He had begun his career as a lieutenant and was granted the title of Lieutenant-General in 2004.

Message from Sheikh Mohammed

“When His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, used to introduce me, he would say: ‘This is Colonel Dhahi, the youngest police chief in the world.’ I realised that he was trying to convey a message. I decided that I must prove to His Highness that I am worth his trust,” he added. Lt Gen Dhahi says that he decided that he must be patient, plan every step meticulously and be innovative.

“I wanted to change the police’s image in society and transform the police service from being entirely a security apparatus into a more socially responsive force.”


He formed the Dubai Police Operations Room and the forensics lab as well as a section of DNA. He devised an electronic system for the traffic department in 1986, thereby making Dubai Police the first government entity in Dubai to use a computer. He also formed maritime, land and air rescue teams and established Dubai Police Academy to invest in the national cadres. In 1998, Dubai Police won the Dubai Government Excellence Award.

Driving tests

Lt Gen Dhahi was also in charge of receiving and test driving a new electric police vehicle in 2013. “Despite the bigger challenges today, Dubai Police are better equipped than ever to ensure the safety and security of its people. We can overcome any challenge with knowledge and science,” Lt Gen Dhahi said.