x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

A woman's place is - in the police force

Cuts in the length of training and a more family-friendly course have been key factors in the increase in female applicants.

The Abu Dhabi Police stand at the Tawdheef recruitment fair has attracted steady interest.
The Abu Dhabi Police stand at the Tawdheef recruitment fair has attracted steady interest.

Abu Dhabi // A drive to recruit more women into the police force has been a resounding success. The number of female applicants had nearly doubled since efforts to attract Emirati women to the job began last October, police said yesterday.

Reductions in training time and a more family-friendly course were the main reasons behind the increase, according to officials at the Tawdheef 2010 job fair. "Now women are no longer required to stay in the police college during the training course," said Huda al Habsi, of the police recruitment department. "They can come at 6.30 in the morning and leave at 2.30 in the afternoon, like office hours.

"Also, the training course is now four and a half months, not six months. They start their day with physical training and then academic training for the rest of the day. "If a woman wants to go home, she can. If she want to stay, there is accommodation for her. There are women who live in rural areas so they prefer to stay in the accommodation." The number of female applicants for the latest recruiting class had increased from the usual 50 to 60 to more than 100, said Ms al Habsi.

She also noticed a lot more applications from women than men since the recruitment fair at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre began on Tuesday. Applicants to join the police must be between 18 and 25, and have to meet physical requirements. Salary during training is Dh10,000 (US$2,700) per month for both men and women. However, after graduation, men earn more, depending on their marital status and where they live.

For women, salaries vary depending on their education. A high school certificate holder is paid about Dh18,000. A university graduate gets around Dh24,000, excluding bonuses and expenses. Every three years, officers get promoted, which brings better salaries. Fatima al Sirkal, 27, a qualified accountant, said she preferred to work for the police because the job carried better salaries and a guaranteed pension. "I've always been interested in a police job," she said. "It is related to the security of the country. They are renowned for their hard work and it is an honour to work for them.

"I asked them about a civilian job but they said too many people applied and encouraged me to apply to be a police officer. I like it." Civilian jobs in the police force pay between Dh5,000 to Dh37,000, depending on work experience and academic qualifications. Expatriates can be hired through private contracts. At Tawdheef, the seven staffers manning the Abu Dhabi Police stand reported a steady stream of applicants yesterday.

Would-be applicants listed a variety of reasons for wanting to join, from a desire to serve their country to the security of a job that they could count on for good pay. Mohammed al Noubi, 19, of Abu Dhabi, who has just finished high school, said he applied for a civilian job with the police, but would continue his studies in mechanics and electronics. An injury would keep him from being a front-line officer. "If it was not for the injury, I would definitely go for a police job. There are too many people applying though, so the college would obviously take the best," he said.

He said a job with the police guaranteed him work for at least 10 years. "Working for a private company is not as guaranteed as working for the Government," he said. Faisal al Ali, 25, a business administration graduate from the University of Dubai, applied for both civilian and patrol jobs. Mr al Ali, who lives in Dubai but has a house in Abu Dhabi, said he had applied to Abu Dhabi Police 10 times and was still trying. The reward was too big to give up on, he said. "I want a secure job for my future, for myself and my family," said Mr al Ali.

Major Mani' al Zaabi, Abu Dhabi police's head of recruitment, said successful applicants went through training at the police school in Al Fawa, Al Ain, or at the women's police school in Abu Dhabi. "As a law enforcement agency, our main goal is to attract Emiratis to police jobs," Maj al Zaabi said. "As for civilian jobs, it depends on vacancies. Every position has its own requirements, but all applicants get tested."

He said there was so much interest in police work from Emiratis because of the "good reputation" of the Abu Dhabi force. "The thing about police is that you find them everywhere. This triggers people's interest." @Email:hhassan@thenational.ae