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Dubai 2018 | TELECOMS, IT & MEDIA | FOCUS: SMART POLICE STATIONS

In Dubai, smart innovations and technological solutions can be found virtually everywhere, including your local, unmanned police station.

In line with the vision for the future of Dubai to become the smartest city on earth, Dubai Police has decided to take policing to the next level. In September 2017, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum opened what is believed to be the first smart police service station worldwide.

Dubai is not short of world records, and neither is Dubai Police. It already held the Guinness World Record for the fastest police car in service, the most people performing burpees, the largest synchronized car dance, the longest line of horses, and the heaviest aircraft pulled over 100m by a male team. And now, it has earned fame for the first smart police station (SPS). Located at City Walk, Dubai Police has set up its first SPS, representing a transformation from traditional to smart policing.

In an interview with TBY, Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, sheds some light on the opening of the SPS. “At Dubai Police we have been asking ourselves the question how we can best interact with the community, and how we can contribute to the happiness of all people in Dubai. The answer to this question is to bring Dubai Police closer to the community, by being reachable and welcoming. All of this comes together in the opening of SPS, the first of its kind in the entire world."

SPS is an unmanned station that is open 24/7. Everybody in Dubai can use the facilities of the station for official police services, such as reporting lost items, paying for a traffic fine, or requesting a good conduct certificate. The station offers 27 key services that are related to crime and traffic incidents, as well as a further 33 community services. An attractive appearance that perfectly matches the retail shops surrounding the station should ensure that visitors immediately feel welcome at SPS and stay around for a while to drink a cup of coffee, have a friendly chat, or get a virtual reality museum tour. The eye catcher at the station is a state-of-the-art racing simulator, an educational driving game that also teaches about safe driving.

Another noteworthy aspect of SPS is the opportunity to report crime virtually. In a fully private room that enables light to enter but stops sounds from going out, people can report crime and start an online procedure. Research has shown that people are more willing to report crime without the need to enter a crowded police station or talk to an officer face to face. Especially when reporting sensitive cases such as domestic violence, a virtual environment is believed to enhance the comfort and sense of security.

With the opening of the first SPS, Dubai Police aligns itself with the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for Dubai to be entirely and completely paperless by 2021. Police officers are said to be 100% behind the initiative.

The SPS on City Walk is a first step, with more smart stations to open later this year in La Mer, Dubai Eye, Palm Jumeirah, and Al Seef. Moreover, Dubai Police signed MoUs with Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and Emaar Properties with the aim of working together to set up smart stations at Emaar projects and in Dubai Silicon Oasis. The General Headquarters of Dubai Police will also undergo an upgrade to make the transformation into a smart station. Instead of 24 officers at the reception of the station, Dubai Police is looking to have just two receptionists in the near future. The creation of smart police stations can also decrease the number of visitors to regular police stations by 80%, which would free up police agents for other police work, making Dubai more efficient and, more importantly, safer.