Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Idex 2019: Dubai Police looks for upgraded bulletproof 'Beast Patrol'

Police order upgraded versions of the Ghiath, which can automatically spot fugitives and recognise number plates

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., February 18, 2019. INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE 2019 (IDEX) Day 2-- Dubai Police GHIATH Mobile. Victor Besa/The National
Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., February 18, 2019. INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE 2019 (IDEX) Day 2-- Dubai Police GHIATH Mobile. Victor Besa/The National

It has been described as the "Beast Patrol". And the 4x4 – one of the most advanced law-enforcement vehicles around – is set to become a far more common sight on the streets of Dubai.

The huge SUV, officially called the Ghiath, comes with two drones, advanced face and number-plate recognition software, 10 internal screens and nine cameras, which can beam back live images to a control room.

Following its success since the car was delivered in October, police ordered an upgraded bulletproof version from manufacturer W Motors.

Lieutenant Saeed Mohammed Matar Al Mazroui, who was showing off Ghiath at the International Defence and Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, said that an order had been placed for “more than 10” more of the vehicles, to join the single unit currently in operation.

Lt Saeed Mohd Matar Almazrooei uses the touchscreen system of the Dubai Police Ghiath. Victor Besa / The National
Lt Saeed Mazroui uses a touchscreen system inside the 'Beast Patrol'. Victor Besa / The National

He described how it made police work easier, as it can automatically recognise fugitives or wanted vehicles.

“It has made so many differences,” he said. “Before, I had to manually check each car by its plate number. This one, it detects the plate number and says expired or it’s wanted.

 Dubai Police's Ghiath. Victor Besa / The National
It is one of the largest vehicles on the road. Victor Besa / The National

“If [a person] has done something wrong the car will see you – it will say wanted by bank, wanted by whatever your charge is.

"It makes it easier for the officer that is cruising. It is easy to use – it will just pop up with the wanted message.

“We have ordered more than 10. We will do some more modifications. We will add more intelligent systems and software, too.”

At least two people are required to operate the car – one to drive and the other to check the screens – but as many as four will ideally be inside, including a drone operator and another officer in case he or she is required to leave the vehicle on foot.

The two drones can be launched if officers want to see something that is otherwise obscured. The drones have a range of 500 metres from the vehicle.

“If the driver is in a traffic jam, and wants to see a place or go to a place within 500 metres and the car cannot go, he can check around and it appears on the screen,” Lt Mazroui said.

“We are improving the body now. It will be bulletproof. For now, it is functional and working, but we are upgrading the car."

The car was built as part of a collaboration between Dubai Police, W Motors and the Abu Dhabi-based Safe City Group.

Lt Mazroui, who is a project manager in Dubai Police’s department of artificial intelligence, would not reveal the price tag, but admits it is high. “It costs,” Lt Mazroui said. “But Dubai likes to be the first and no matter what is the cost, we are looking [out] for our people’s safety.”

Updated: February 19, 2019 03:00 PM