Thousands ready to serve and protect
Residents explain why they signed up for new community cop scheme
A wish to tackle road safety, a desire to give back to the community and a duty to take on responsibility. Those are just a few of the reasons why thousands of Abu Dhabi residents have rushed to sign up to become community police officers.
Just two weeks since the scheme was launched in the capital as part of the Abu Dhabi Police ‘ We are Police’ initiative, more than 2,000 people have put their names forward.
Members of the community police will train with full-time police officers before earning their badge. The volunteers will be trained in first aid and even how to direct traffic in the event of an accident or lights cutting out.
7DAYS caught up with some of those who have signed up to find out why they want to get involved.
Among them is Filipino gym trainer Bethany Galendo, 39, who said he feels it is his responsibility to become a community officer.
“I am a part of this community and want to volunteer to serve it,” he said. “Every individual who is a part of a community is responsible for it and if shortlisted as a community police officer I really hope to bring about positive changes and help people around me.”
Abu Dhabi Police intend to take on more than 13,000 volunteers in the next five years for what is believed to be the first community policing scheme in the region.
Gerald Baudrillard wants to make a difference to his community.
The 46-year-old French podiatrist (pictured inset right) said he feels he lives in a safe city, where residents can walk around at night without fear of crime.
But he said that day in, day out, he sees reckless behaviour on the roads – the kind of behaviour that leads to hundreds of deaths every year.
He wants to act and that’s why he and thousands more like him have signed up for the capital’s new community policing scheme.
In the two weeks since the ‘We Are All Police’ scheme was launched in the capital, more than 2,000 people have put their names forward. Those selected for the scheme will each receive training, before being given a community police officer’s badge.
Baudrillard told 7DAYS: “It is very surprising that in one of the safest countries in the world, most drivers do not respect simple traffic rules like stop signs, give way, not to use mobile phones and use their indicators while turning or changing lanes.
“I also see a lot of children in cars without seat belts, and for these reasons I am interested in becoming a community police officer, so I can tell them when they are wrong and change this bad and unsafe behaviour.
“I want to do my best to improve road safety.”
Fellow recruit Kuldeep Rai, 39, an Indian engineer, also wants to give back to the community.
He said: “I have been in the UAE for a decade now and this country has given me so much.
“I always thought about how I can repay in some way and when I found out about the community police, I realised it’s a great opportunity to improve society and make my contribution to it.”
Russian expat Anastasia Aldaeva, 33, (pictured), who works in a hospital, signed up for two reasons.
She said: “If shortlisted, it will be a great chance for me to learn more about the community culture here and I love learning new things, so training under the police will be a great added benefit.
“Moreover, my base of education is psychology, so I really believe I can use those skills to work with the elderly and disabled people as a part of the programme and also implement my knowledge practically.
“This is my chance to build a better society and improve myself along the way.”
Filipino gym trainer Bethany Galendo, 39, said he felt it is his responsibility to become a community officer
“Every individual who is a part of a community is responsible for it and if shortlisted as a community police officer I really hope to bring about positive changes and help people around me.”
Volunteers can sign up online at weareallpolice.ae and will receive training from the police if accepted.
General Ghane Al Kaabi, from Abu Dhabi Police, said at the launch of the project earlier this month that the force wants to take advantage of community-minded residents that want to give back.
He said: “Each year we expect to add 2,000 to 4,000 members from Abu Dhabi to the initiative in order to reach our goal in 2021, which is having one police officer for every 58 people.”
The force hope that within four years, it will have 47,000 personnel, including the We Are All Police volunteers.
SERVE: An Abu Dhabi police officer hands out food packages to the public during Ramadan