x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dubai Police school visits are a success

Police officers are visiting schools to teach pupils how to handle an emergency such as an earthquake, and how to say no to drugs.

DUBAI // In one classroom, pupils are being evacuated during an earthquake; in another, a young man's life is falling apart because of drug addiction.

These are some of the scenes being played out in schools across the emirate as part of the Dubai Police security-education programme.

The initiative takes place in all public schools, primary and secondary, and 20 private schools. Officers teach pupils how to handle crises such as earthquakes, how to say no to drugs and smoking, the dangers of fireworks, how IT can be misused, and traffic safety.

The idea came from a request by the Imam Al Shafi'i public boys' school in 2004 for help in bringing wayward pupils under control.

"The Dubai Police chief asked to have all the troublemakers in the school brought together and given a security-awareness seminar," said Dr Ahmed Al Sa'adi, the acting head of Dubai Police's international training service department, which supervises the initiative.

"After the year passed, the level of problems had reduced in the school so police decided to implement the concept on other schools."

Last week the programme visited pupils from Rashid Al Saleh private school. Boys in Grades 10 and 11 had a seminar on crises and disasters, while girls in Grade 12 were taught about the harm drugs cause.

Dr Hamdan Al Gaitha asked the boys what they thought might be the best place to hide in an earthquake.

"Under the table," ventured one student, correctly.

Dr Al Gaitha said if there were no tables, they should stand in the corner of the room or in doorways.

Khalifa Khaled, 16, said 90 per cent of the seminar was new to him, and "maybe one day I would need such information".

Dr Juma Al Shamsi, head of awareness and precaution at the police anti-narcotics division, lectured the girls on drugs and showed a video about a young man who was jailed after trying drugs for the first time.

"He tried drugs once, why would he be penalised and get his life destroyed just for once?" a girl asked.

"Yes, but police found drugs in his body and they needed to take action against him," Dr Al Shamsi replied.

Dr Al Shamsi said it was vital to give the pupils reliable information.

Amreen Abdul Al Khaleq, 17, said: "I did not know that if a person or his family reported his addiction to police that he would be exempted from punishment. Now that I know, I will definitely seek the authorities' help if someone around me gets an addiction problem, God forbid."