Interview : Maktoum Ali Al Sharifi
What is the safety and security profile of Abu Dhabi, and how are the police facing existing and emerging threats?
MAKTOUM ALI AL SHARIFI: Abu Dhabi was ranked as the safest city in the world in 2017 and 2018 according to Numbeo, a website that collates data about cities and countries worldwide. Abu Dhabi ranked ahead of 337 cities and was identified as the city with the lowest level of crime. Numbeo also confirmed the sense of safety in Abu Dhabi is high both during the day and at night. The city scored 88.26 points in the overall safety index and 11.74 in the crime index. Among the crimes included in the report were physical assault, theft and attacks based on colour of skin, ethnic origin or religion. These figures show that Abu Dhabi is a global destination committed to providing safety and prosperity, making it an ideal business environment for international entrepreneurs.
One reason for this global recognition is the work of Abu Dhabi Police to attain the highest levels of safety and security. This is reflected in recent statistics that recorded the number of reported “important crimes” at 85.4 per 100,000 people. Police have also been effective in dealing with electronic crime, using the latest innovative technologies to deal with 774 of these complex cases in 2017. Abu Dhabi Police have initiated 23 projects to combat crime, including forensic geology and geographical mapping. These projects have enabled the identification and processing of crimes, and facilitated an efficient response in the deployment of tasks, illustrating Abu Dhabi Police’s adaptability in the management of current and future security challenges.
To what extent are traffic safety laws being strengthened while raising awareness of road safety for drivers?
AL SHARIFI: Road safety is one of the key priorities of Abu Dhabi Police. A comprehensive plan was implemented in 2017 that set out to increase road monitoring and traffic safety awareness. In addition, 38 projects were initiated, including the launch of the Happiness Patrol that seeks to spread a culture of happiness and positivity in order to encourage road safety. Smart traffic patrols and smart towers have also been activated to help analyse weather conditions, improve road safety and promote traffic awareness. Other projects launched in 2017 include the Geographical Information System for mobile data units, a smart patrol system to support responding units by providing coordinates of locations and live updates of road traffic density.
In addition to the Integrated Traffic Safety Management System, Abu Dhabi Police were the first organisation in the Middle East to implement the eCall system. The system automatically connects a vehicle involved in an accident to the nearest control and command centre, accurately transmitting the location of the incident and other relevant data. Calls can be made both manually and automatically between the vehicle and the emergency services. In 2017 Abu Dhabi Police responded to 39,337 cases and provided ambulance services to 41,599 people. In the same year, thanks to the success of these preventative measures and the improvement in response times, there was a decrease in the number of road accident fatalities by 34.5%, a decline in serious injuries in road accidents to 8.85 per 100,000 people and a 21% decline in run-over accidents.
This ongoing improvement in traffic safety has been further facilitated by Abu Dhabi Police’s awareness drive, using media and online platforms to inform the community of road safety issues. Police regularly conduct campaigns, update current road conditions and broadcast footage of traffic accidents to raise awareness. Members of the community are also encouraged to share their own views and ideas about how road safety could be implemented.
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