Safety and security initiatives
Mindful of the global security challenges and developments in the present world, the government has launched many initiatives to safeguard its infrastructure. Among these are:
In December 2012, UAE government launched the Hedayah Centre (Arabic for guidance), which aims to counter violent extremism by promoting understanding and sharing of good practices for the global interest.
The Abu Dhabi Safety and Security Planning Manual
The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council issued the Abu Dhabi Safety and Security Planning Manual (SSPM) to develop safe, secure and sustainable communities by ensuring that safety and security aspects are included in the development proposals.
The SSPM is based on the belief that places that are not within common vision or easy sight prove to be a favourable place for crime to occur. The primary focus for the manual is to reduce crimes against the person through changes to the built environment. It combines the three disciplines of personnel, information and physical security in a manner to create 'defence in depth', where multiple layers work together to deter, delay, detect and deny an attack.
The SSPM includes a set of strategies and measures that seek to reduce the risk of crimes occurring and their potentially harmful effects on individuals and society, by intervening in the multiple influencing factors/causes.
For more information, read Abu Dhabi Vision 2030.
Higher Committee for Crises and Terrorist Acts Management (HCCTAM)
The emirate of Abu Dhabi established the Higher Committee for Crises and Terrorist Acts Management (HCCTAM). HCCTAM leads the emirate's efforts to counter terrorism and is the owner of the Counter Terrorism Strategy. This strategy is organised around a series of work streams, one of which is protection. The strategy seeks to increase the resilience of the UAE against attacks.
Read more about Abu Dhabi's efforts to enhance safety in the society in Abu Dhabi Safety and Security Planning Manual.
Community Protection Face Recognition initiative
To enhance the security of the UAE, Ministry of Interior deployed a face recognition system using advanced technology to protect the borders of the UAE, as well as its critical infrastructure and key assets. The system's biometric software scans images of individual faces for analysis and identification. It uses sensitive cameras to capture the faces of people. The cameras can scan and capture images of people standing near and far from the camera and whether in motion or standing still.
The UAE's smart initiatives to counter extremism and terrorism
The UAE Government advocates fighting extremism by stopping suspicious funding, disrupting the recruitment of foreign fighters, securing borders, preventing the exploitation of the web and social media and by contesting the use of religious centres to promote hatred and violence.
To this end, the government established the Sawab Center to restrict violent extremist messaging on the internet. The word Sawab in Arabic means doing the right thing. This online initiative counters false claims, highlights key activities conducted by the global coalition against extremists and amplifies credible voices to speak out against terror.
Laws to protect national security
Federal law against terrorism
The UAE issued the Anti-Terrorism Law (Gulf News), which includes tough punishments for acts related to extremism. The law defines terrorists as people committing any act considered illegal that would lead to results of terror, whether directly or indirectly.
The law covers new areas such as human trafficking and establishes guidance centres to rehabilitate those exposed to extremism and integrate them back into society.
Article 41 states: If a person is found to be terrorism-prone, they are referred to one of the guidance centres based on a court ruling and a request by public prosecution.
Federal law against hatred and discrimination
Federal Decree Law No. 2 of 2015 on Combating Discrimination and Hatred (PDF, 150 KB) criminalises any acts that promote religious hatred through any form of expression. It makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin. Violators will be exposed to penalties which include jail terms and fines.
The law encourages anyone involved in any activity that violates the law to voluntarily submit themselves to the authorities and has provisions allowing the courts to waive penalties in such cases. Read about tolerance in the UAE.
For more info about the law, refer to the below links:
Training in safety
The UAE established many safety-training institutions across the country to prepare and train potential leaders and civilian officers and improve their skills in identifying and assessing challenges to national, regional and international security. These institutions include:
MoI uses the latest technologies to maintain security and boost productivity in police work. Some of them are:
The 'Falcon Eye' system
Abu Dhabi police utilises a complete central system, which called the falcon eye system. It covers Abu Dhabi city, Abu Dhabi International Airport, the main islands and the areas of Bani Yas and Musaffah.
The system receives a live feed from visual surveillance equipment installed on site and displays data in an integral system that provides warnings and enables quick access to events and incidents.
The system controls roads by monitoring traffic violations such as the use of hard shoulders, illegal parking and the misuse of roads and dealing with traffic accidents live.
IRIS system-Abu Dhabi Police
Abu Dhabi police uses eye print system to help identify persons by their iris patterns. It is based upon mathematical analysis of the random patterns visible in the iris of a person's eye (iris recognition). This system is effective, accurate and fast in detecting wanted persons and the process takes seconds to identify a person.
Driverless mini police cars
Dubai Police is considering launching autonomous, self-driving cars. The robotic vehicles will be equipped with biometric software to scan wanted criminals and those who are suspected of or are actually breaking the laws.
The driverless vehicles will patrol different areas including tourist destinations of the city to boost security and hunt for unusual activity, all the while scanning crowds for known criminals and potential persons of interest to police. It can recognise people in any area and identify suspicious objects and can track suspects. Police officers can access the car through their fingerprint.
The new security system is so advanced that the mini-vehicle even comes with its own drone, which can be launched via a rear sleeve — both are monitored and linked to Dubai Police command room.
In October 2017, Dubai Police unveiled a model of a flying motorbike, Hoversurf. It can seat one police officer who would pilot the bike. However, it can also fly through remote operation. It is being considered for use during emergencies.
Hoversurf works on electricity and can fly at five metres height. This feature is useful during emergencies and heavy traffic. The flying bike can travel up to a distance of 6 kilometres. It can fly for 25 minutes and can carry up to 300 kg of weight at a speed of 70 kmph.
Engaging public in maintaining security
The UAE Government recognises that nation's security is a collective responsibility and that individuals can potentially help in realising security and preventing crimes. Therefore, it introduced some security services and channels that enable people to communicate and report any suspicious or harmful incidents directly to the authorities. Some of them are:
- Call 999 to report crimes and emergencies while anywhere in the UAE
The Aman electronic system in Abu Dhabi enables individuals to raise security concerns they encounter. The information is used to assist the security agencies in preventing specifically planned crimes and locating criminals.
- Al Ameen service from Dubai Police
The Al Ameen service enables people to contact the police with complete confidentiality, round the clock, about any problems or concerns they may have. The service studies each of the cases brought in. Some of the issues that were reported are:
- the presence of blacksmith shops that sell knives to teenagers
- the receipt of fraudulent text messages by mobile phone users.
- Al Najeed Service from Sharjah Police
Sharjah Police introduced the Najeed service. Through this service, you can report information and tip-offs about crimes or any other threats posing danger to the stability of society.
- My security is my neighbour's security
My security is my neighbour's security is a programme for the residents of villas and houses in Sharjah under which residents are encouraged to report any suspicious movement or activity in their neighbourhood and prevent crime.
Use of weapons
The UAE police forces launch several campaigns to develop public awareness against the misuse of weapons, including cold weapons like swords, axes, knives and bows or arms, whether licensed or not.
The UAE has issued the Federal Law No. 3 of 2009 regarding Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives regulates the importation and/or possession of weapons. Failure to observe the law can lead to criminal liability and severe penalties.
Refer to the links below for a list of local police headquarters in the UAE:
Updated on 01 Nov 2021