Thou­sands ready to serve and pro­tect

Res­i­dents ex­plain why they signed up for new com­mu­nity cop scheme

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - @Ma­hakLFC By Ma­hak Man­nan

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

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