x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Crime is in check, but no room for failure

Crime in the emirate is under control, but there is 'no room for failure' when it comes to law enforcement, says one of the country's most senior police officials.

Female police officers are used in several different fields within the force, including canine units and jails.
Female police officers are used in several different fields within the force, including canine units and jails.

ABU DHABI // Crime in the emirate is under control, but there is "no room for failure" when it comes to law enforcement, according to one of the country's most senior police officials. In an exclusive interview with The National, Major General Obaid al Ketbi, the deputy general commander of Abu Dhabi Police, talked in detail about the challenges of law enforcement in a city where economic growth has resulted in a massive expansion of the population.

Major Gen al Ketbi, who is also head of the higher security committee for the Yas Marina Circuit, also revealed that the emirate might eventually release annual crime figures. Asked whether the police would reveal numbers for various kinds of crime, including robbery and murder, he said: "It will come, it needs time." He insisted, though, that "the figures are not scary". On the question of whether economic expansion and the resulting growth in the expatriate population will mean more crime, he said the problems were being tackled through a grassroots effort by police that reaches out to involve people in their communities.

The initiative includes targeting schools, parents and young people. "We are doing our best to keep up with things that come up, " Major Gen al Ketbi he said. "So far we have it under control." He said serious crime in the capital was mostly limited to robberies and assaults involving non-nationals, such a labourers fighting over money. There is also a small number of rapes and fraud cases. Asked about international media reports earlier this year that the country was on a higher security alert because of the threat from terrorists, he replied: "We are a strong country which will be protected by its men and women, so nothing serious will happen."

He also discussed topics including the future direction of policing and the role of women in the force. "What is challenging is that we always have to be successful; there is no room for failure," he said. "It is the key issue that Abu Dhabi has to be up to international standards." On the question of a greater role for women, the deputy general said he was "satisfied" with the level of recruitment and that "there is always encouragement for them to join".

But he added that "there are critical jobs that are not suitable for women" such as civil defence and men's prisons. Major Gen al Ketbi joined the UAE armed forces as a cadet in 1976 and rose through the ranks to become chief of logistics before joining the police. @Email:hdajani@thenational.ae