x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

How the UAE is fighting criminality

The UAE can combat "new-age" criminality through technology, international cooperation and information sharing, a major conference heard yesterday.

ABU DHABI // The UAE can combat "new-age" criminality through technology, international cooperation and information sharing, a major conference heard yesterday.

Maj Gen Dr Obaid Al Ketbi, deputy commander general of Abu Dhabi Police, said combining these are key elements of the UAE's national security strategy.

"Staying abreast of technological developments, along with multilateral security cooperation and information sharing, is a main part of the UAE's national security strategy," he said at the Homeland Security Summit.

"Regional counter terrorism and counter piracy work would have not been achieved without bilateral, regional and international cooperation."

Maj Gen Al Ketbi said that the UAE had taken a number of steps to prevent criminal activities and acts of terrorism, working with all the countries that look to the stability of its citizens residing in the UAE.

"The importance of consulting and teamwork among the various agencies in the country is key because it provides a basis for information sharing and fluid cooperation," he said.

He said that development of the regional strategy on information security is needed, as well as the introduction of regional electronic identity checks for border security.

Director general of the Emirates Identity Authority, Dr Ali Al Khoori, told the summit that despite challenges the electronic identification systems in the UAE are continuously evolving.

"A federal identity management system is currently being developed where all the digital identity information is being standardised across the federal systems in the UAE," he said at the summit.

Dr Al Khoori said that threats such as digital identity thefts were being defended against by the application of robust measures.

"The UAE has over 200 nationalities ... some attempts occur and develop ... and our measures are developed with it."

Dr Al Khoori said that the authority is trying to integrate the identification system within the government in order to achieve the "smart services" system initiative recently announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

"This is a very challenging initiative, not only to the UAE but internationally," Dr Al Khoori said.

"We need all the government departments to talk to each other technically."

Research conducted by an international organisation found that only five per cent of such initiatives have been successful, Dr Al Khoori said.

However, he added that the country is capable of greater success in this field.

Speaking on capability development, Dr Faisal Al Ayyan, executive vice president of Abu Dhabi's Rabdan Academy, said that safety, security, defence and emergency crisis management training has to be world class if the country is to achieve strategic goals set out by the Government.

Rabdan Academy is a professional institution dedicated to training safety, defence and emergency professionals - across all sectors - to meet the challenges and threats faced by nations and communities. The academy provides vocational and academic training for civilian, military, police and private sector communities.

"We train ... at the moment police and armed forces personnel, but in future we are going to be training civilian, regional and international students at the academy - which we want to bill as Sandhurst College, MIT or Penn State University."

The academy, said Dr Al Ayyan, was developed to present a world-class education on resilience, security and crisis management to not only the UAE but the region.

The conference was held at the capital's Le Royal Meridien and continues today and tomorrow.

amustafa@thenational.ae