DUBAI // Dubai Police's war against drugs has taken three key steps forward, officials announced yesterday.
Maj Gen Abdul Jalil Mahdi, the director general of the Dubai Police anti-narcotics department, inaugurated a specialist course for field surveillance in drugs cases for police, ministry of interior officials, customs inspectors and Saudi Arabian officials.
The course, according to Maj Gen Mahdi, features use of the latest scientific and behavioural methods to root out drug smugglers, peddlers and users.
"The importance of co-ordination by different government departments in such training helped to lead to a high number of arrests and foiled attempts to distribute narcotics in the country," he said.
"The Dubai Police anti-narcotics department has maintained a wide network of anti-narcotics agencies worldwide, where experiences were shared, information was exchanged and combined training operations were conducted."
In addition, deputy Dubai Police chief, Maj Gen Khamis Mattar al Mezaina, signed an agreement with the director general of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Butti, to provide training to the Customs canine unit.
"Customs canine units play an important role in protecting our air, sea and land borders from the entry of prohibited materials by smugglers and criminals," Maj Gen al Mezaina said.
The Dubai Police canine unit was established in 1976 with only six dogs and six handlers. Today the unit has more than 60 handlers and dogs, and each dog holds an official rank.
And finally, a delegation from Dubai Police yesterday presented research about public and social awareness against the dangers of drugs at a conference at King Faisal University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The research paper was presented by Maj Ibrahim al Dabal, the director of the international training administration at Dubai Police.
"We took a preventive approach against narcotics in Dubai on instructions from Dubai Police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim after we recognised a dangerous behavioural change among schoolchildren," Maj al Dabal said at the conference.
During his presentation, Maj al Dabal said Dubai Police anti-drugs awareness campaigns started with five schools but had expanded to 86 across the emirate in the past two years.
"The campaign has two objectives: firstly, raising the students' knowledge level by pushing them to get higher grades, and secondly for security reasons, by giving close support to students and avoiding their deviation to illegal activities," he said.
According to Maj Gen Mahdi, Dubai has witnessed a significant drop in the number of new drug addicts and those returning to addiction last year, with figures showing just 142 new addicts in 2010, compared with 192 in 2009.
He attributed the decline to awareness campaigns.
"The number of drug addicts who willingly applied for treatment reached 44 in 2010, compared with 22 addicts in 2009, while the year 2010 recorded 178 people returning to drug addiction as compared to 202 in 2009," he said.
"Anyone proved to be returning to addiction will undergo a trial again."