x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dubai to spend Dh500m on security

Dubai police are to spend Dh500 million on security technology this year with the aim of having "cameras everywhere".

'DUBAI // Dubai police are to spend Dh500 million on security technology this year with the aim of having "cameras everywhere". Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Chief of Dubai Police, said surveillance needs to be ramped up to meet the growing requirements of an expanding city.

There are 25,000 security cameras in the emirate, and the number will increase as the force begins installing a new type of smart camera that can rotate to cover what were once "dead spots". "We need to work according to a well studied strategic plan and not only react to events as they come along," Lt Gen Tamim said in an interview with The National. "We will have cameras everywhere." The police chief has said before that 2010 will be "the year of technology" at Dubai police. The importance of such technology in the force's work was highlighted in the investigation into the murder of the Hamas official Mahmoud al Mabhouh in his hotel room in January, he said.

"With the al Mabhouh murder we were able to play back time through the footage captured by cameras, and after going through 1,700 hours of CCTV footage we were able to pull the strings together and identify the suspects," he said. "Sometimes we are lucky with cases, sometimes the constant following up pays off, but what always works is our intelligence gathering." The police chief said residents should not be concerned about privacy issues as more cameras are installed.

"The big number of cameras does not alter the privacy of the city's residents and visitors," he said. "To intrude on people's privacy is not allowed by law and is not acceptable by our religion and tradition, so nobody in Dubai need feel scared about their privacy." The force has 16,500 police officers and another 4,000 administrative staff who oversee security in the city, in which there are about 60,000 buildings, according to government statistics.

"We are working on the security for each and every aspect of Dubai, whether it's an environment security, commercial or tourism security," Lt Gen Tamim said. The daily maintenance of the equipment will be covered by the Dh500 million budget, but the salaries of staff working there are covered by a separate budget, which he did not disclose. The budget will also cover investment in technology that will allow police to place GPS locators on cars being pursued by police.

"The new technology would allow police officers to attach a GPS detector on cars through a special bullet, and we will then be able to follow the car by satellite," Lt Gen Tamim said. Dubai police have also recently deployed about 100 new police cars called "smart patrols", with cameras that scan the streets for cars being driven in breach of the law. The patrols can scan the cars on the road and conduct a security check on any vehicle. "This will facilitate our work as the driver of the wanted car could be wanted for a murder," Lt General Tamim said.

He added that the feedback he has been receiving from his officers on the new patrols is encouraging. @Email:wissa@thenational.ae