DUBAI // A man has been arrested over the attempted rape of a 13-year-old girl - thanks to trainee police officers.
The girl was on her way home from school when she was attacked in November 2010 but the suspect was never caught.
Police kept the case "on their radar", according to Brig Khalil Al Mansouri, the head of CID, but it was only when Police Academy students suggested a new direction for the investigation that an arrest was made.
The suspect, from Bangladesh, was detained on Sunday in Al Rifa'a and is believed to have harassed a number of young girls in the area.
"The [Police Academy] team decided to put Al Rifa'a area under surveillance around the clock. They came to think that the suspect might continue to visit the area as he might have some relatives in it," said Brig Al Mansouri.
The girl escaped her attacker after neighbours heard her cries for help. "A number of residents heard a weak scream from the corridors and rushed out to see what was happening," said Brig Al Mansouri.
The man ran off, leaving the girl partially undressed. Inquiries found that other girls in the neighbourhood had been harassed.
Their descriptions of the assailant were similar to that of the man who tried to rape the 13-year-old.
A number of the girls gave police detailed descriptions of the man - in particular his unique watch.
Despite this, no arrest was made. The students revisited the case and decided to put the area under watch. Their surveillance team noticed a man fitting the girls' descriptions entering Al Rifa'a on Sunday and detained him.
"The man was also wearing a unique watch that matched the description of the one worn by the attacker," said Brig Al Mansouri.
He said the man confessed to the crimes under police questioning and that a number of the girls had identified him. The case has been referred the public prosecution.