SAFE AND SOUND

Abu Dhabi 2020 | DEFENSE | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Major General Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Commander-in-Chief of Abu Dhabi Police, on ranking as the world's safest city, global policing practices, and smuggling.

Abu Dhabi has been ranked the safest city in the world for four years in a row by Numbeo. What policing measures have had the most immediate impact in reducing Abu Dhabi's crime index?

Abu Dhabi being named as one of the safest cities in the world for the fourth year running by Numbeo is confirmation that the citizens and residents who live here and visitors that travel to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi are blessed to have a high level of personal security and safety. This accomplishment can be credited to the unlimited support and care that is extended by our visionary leaders, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It is not by chance that Abu Dhabi, and the UAE in general, has become an oasis of stability and safety. Our leadership prioritizes the promotion of peace and safety as two fundamental pillars in society and provides all the necessary resources to achieve these goals. As a result, our community is exceptionally safe and this has been increasingly acknowledged internationally, for example by Numbeo that ranks Abu Dhabi as the city with the highest safety index of 88.67 and the lowest crime index of just 11.33. To maintain safety, Abu Dhabi Police continues to implement a comprehensive strategy and embrace initiatives that represent important achievements in the field of policing. These gains are important for community safety and contribute to the on-going story of the country as it continues to provide an attractive environment for citizens, residents and visitors to enjoy peace, well-being and an excellent quality of living. Central to our approach is the community-oriented policing and outreach initiatives that positively enhance our interaction with the community and helps to reinforce the public's sense of safety.

What are some of the best current global policing practices, and how is the Abu Dhabi police incorporating these into local policing?

Abu Dhabi Police constantly benchmarks itself against other police agencies and units across the world. Knowledge-sharing with global police and security bodies is also a key component of our development that enhances our ability to maintain, and improve on, best international practices in policing and crime prevention. The on-going evolution of our security systems across the various sectors of the Police, for example, is a reflection of the desire to benefit from our international interaction in order to enhance performance.

Cyber-crime is a significant threat across the globe. What are some of the strategies the Abu Dhabi Police are deploying to combat this?

Highly trained and equipped staff that are well educated on the legal procedures surrounding cyber-crime are a key layer in our ability to confront this challenge. The need to raise awareness on the dangers of cyber-crime is also met by Abu Dhabi Police through the undertaking of campaigns, programs, forums, and participation in seminars on the best ways to fight this menace.

What is the perspective of Abu Dhabi's law enforcement on the best ways to leverage innovative technologies, and what are some technological initiatives the force is currently exploring and deploying?

Abu Dhabi Police aims to promote employee creativity in all areas, which has led to the implementation of many innovations. For instance, during the UAE Month of Innovation 2019, Abu Dhabi Police introduced a smart quad bike to its range of patrol vehicles. The specially adapted quad bike enhances our ability to patrol over rough terrain and access remote areas. It is equipped with a smart camera installed to capture, update and store information. The bike efficiently performs all the functions of a traditional patrol vehicle but carries out the multiple tasks in a one-step process. Officers are specially trained to operate the smart bikes while the high-tech system enables the officers to respond to all types of emergencies and security situations across all terrain and locations.

As Abu Dhabi grows its presence as an international transshipment port there is increased vulnerability to the smuggling of inbound precursor chemicals, illegal drugs, and counterfeit goods. What are some of the steps the Abu Dhabi police along with the UAE customs are taking to tackle these issues?

Abu Dhabi Police has recently signed a MoU with Abu Dhabi Customs to share information and develop training methods on the early detection of banned substances. The custom officers and drug enforcement personnel receive specialized courses including training on body language, drug detection procedures, among others. There is a law in place that governs the import and export of precursor chemicals. Moreover, companies allowed to trade in precursor chemicals are subject to routine monitoring and inspections. Drug enforcement teams at the border points are highly experienced in all types of precursor chemicals and are fully prepared to prevent any smuggling attempts in coordination with customs officers.