x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Police promise new ways to tackle crime

A senior Interior Ministry official says the focus will be on crime prevention rather than on more officers on the streets and more arrests.

Major Gen Nasser al Naimi says the Abu Dhabi police have chalked out several initiatives to prevent crime and traffic offences.
Major Gen Nasser al Naimi says the Abu Dhabi police have chalked out several initiatives to prevent crime and traffic offences.

ABU DHABI// By next year, police in the capital will start using more technology, offering their officers much more training and seek greater help from the public in fighting crime. The plan for 2010, unveiled yesterday, is aimed largely at preventing more crimes and putting fewer people behind bars, as the city and the emirate continue to undergo rapid and challenging social changes. Maj Gen Nasser al Naimi, the director general of the Minister of Interior's office, highlighted several parts of the plan in an interview. He said the force would make strenuous efforts to improve the skills of officers so they can cope with new types of crimes, such as cyberfraud. The force will also put more resources into fighting the drug trade, money laundering and traffic offences, and reach out to the community to nurture a culture of respect for the law, he said. In addition to initiatives to reduce traffic accidents and crime in general, the ministry will also launch an office to promote respect for the law. The idea follows the observation that there is a general lack of awareness when it comes to rules and regulations. Gen al Naimi argued that one of the major reasons people break laws is that they do not understand their significance. The ministry is working closely with other public institutions, as well as social organisations, to meet the demands of the city as it expands, Gen al Naimi said. National Day offered an early taste of the capital's new method of policing. "In previous years," said Gen al Naimi, "we used to arrest a couple of hundred people, and confiscate a thousand vehicles. This year we did not because we were on the top of things beforehand. Previously people did not know how to celebrate properly, so this time we organised events for them."

Prevention is the key, but it is not alone on the policeman's keychain - Gen al Naimi said the force had 86 separate initiatives planned for 2010 and that "there is a group of officers who will be in charge of carrying out these initiatives from the beginning of the year until the end of it, and they will be accountable for them". Sending officers across the globe to be trained in the latest crime fighting techniques and acquiring language skills to deal with Abu Dhabi's multicultural population are also part of the new strategy for 2010, Gen al Naimi said in an interview yesterday.

So is keeping the public informed of the changes. With 86 projects on the go, that will be a lot of information. Also among the plethora of projects, Gen al Naimi said, is setting up a network of closed-circuit television cameras covering all corners of the emirate so police can monitor activity and react better to emergencies. "It does not completely work that when there is an increase in the population you recruit more officers," he said. "It is not that simple. Today, there are more advanced electronic tools that can be used, such as surveillance."

In response to burgeoning threats, especially narcotics and cybercrimes, the ministry will focus heavily on honing the skills of police personnel. Gen al Naimi said there were two plans in place to train police officers to better deal with all types of threats. "We have 240 officers specialising as experts in several fields, such as financial crimes, electronic crimes, traffic offences," he said.

Each officer will go through an eight-year programme to attain a PhD in a specific area, and do field work in his specialisation. "For example," he said, "in traffic, when a student finishes the programme, he would have worked in traffic in the UK or whatever country he studies in. He would have taken a master's and PhD in traffic management and attended conferences of traffic management. He would be well trained in traffic."

As part of another initiative, 1,500 officers will study abroad to condition them to work in a multicultural society. "The students will go to various countries because we have various communities," Gen al Naimi said, "so this enables them to learn the language and culture." The countries include the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Philippines, Iran, Pakistan and India.

Yet another focus for the police in the coming year will be cyberfraud - "people who commit it and those who fall victim for it". "We've been working with Etisalat on this issue," Gen al Naimi observed. The police force also plans to establish a specialised department to deal with money laundering. @Email:hdajani@thenational.ae hhassan@thenational.ae