x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Police out in full force for National Day

Extra safety precautions are being taken as thousands of people are expected in public places.

Around the UAE, law enforcement and safety officers are preparing for the throngs of people expected to take to the streets, beaches and parks as the nation celebrates its 39th anniversary.

In Abu Dhabi, police will be stationed around the capital, said Col Abdul Hakeem al Suwaidi, deputy director of Abu Dhabi capital police.

A comprehensive security plan is place, he said, although he declined to discuss details.

Extra safety precautions are being taken on the Corniche, shopping malls, public parks and other highly populated areas, he said, and the main operations room will be on alert to dispatch emergency services, if needed.

Col al Suwaidi also warned that parents should be careful to watch their children and make sure they do not play with fireworks.

In Dubai, motorists who drive recklessly or try stunts on the roads will have their vehicles confiscated, as police step up patrols around National Day celebrations. Tow trucks will be deployed to places such as Jumeirah and Mamzar to speed up confiscation, police said.

Cars with decorated windshields and front windows will also be confiscated on the spot. Decorating those spaces blocks the driver's view and makes the vehicles unsafe, police said.

"We will hit with an iron fist anyone who breaks the rules or endangers other people's lives," said Lt Col Saif Muhair al Mazrouei, the deputy head of the Dubai police traffic department.

He added that the force will deploy 150 patrols, in addition to the 120 regular daily patrols in Bur Dubai and Diera.

During National Day celebrations, some motorists exploit the festivities, especially parades, to carry out stunts and drive aggressively, Lt Col al Mazrouei said.

Patrols will be added to the main roads, such as Sheikh Zayed and Al Khail, but police will also closely monitor areas where many such practices have taken place in the past.

In Sharjah, motorists are being warned that excessive decorative displays on their vehicles during National Day celebrations are likely to draw police attention.

"Police will not tolerate motorists colouring their vehicle windows," said Col Eid Mohammed al Madhloom, head of the police operations department. "

Decorating the front and rear glasses with vision-obscuring posters, exceeding the permitted number of passengers and people sitting in car windows or standing in the car are all henceforth banned."

Cars dragging flags on the ground or fitted with unnecessary noisemaking devices will not be tolerated, nor will disrupting traffic or stunt driving, Col al Mahdloom said. He called on residents to abide by traffic rules and on parents to guide their children's behaviour.

Tayyib Ahmed, a Sharjah resident, welcomed the plans, saying the situation on local roads had been very unruly during past National Days, particularly among the younger celebrants.

"It's good to have police warning stubborn drivers in advance," he said. "There are often many deadly accidents from speeding motorists, spoiling the people's mood."


* With Wafa Issa and Yasin Kakande