Role of community in combating crimes stressed at UAE meet

The crime rate in the country has significantly declined by 25 per cent over the past five years, a top official from the Ministry of Interior said in the capital on Sunday.

The drop has been possible, thanks to a collaborative effort between different local, federal and international entities, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and engagement with communities, Brigadier Abdul Aziz Al Ahmad, the ministry’s Deputy Director General of Federal Criminal Police, said while addressing a conference on Prevention of Crime and Extremism: A collective responsibility.

“Between 2014 and 2018, the crime rate in the country declined by 25 per cent. A partnership between the police and the society helps resolve issues and ensures safety and harmony,” he said.

Wajeb Volunteering Association along with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had organised the three-day conference on crime and violent extremism in Abu Dhabi.

Brig Al Ahmad said community engagement units had been established by the MoI, under the guidelines of Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior.

“People must be aware of the laws and there must be a culture of respecting rules in society, it’s very important. Communication and cooperation between the police and the community plays a key role in minimising crimes and helps in preventing them,” he said.

The ministry has also created units to take care of children and protect them from harassment, he added.
Judge Hatem Aly, UNODC representative for GCC, said, “The UAE emphasises a lot on the responsibility of the community and acceptance of new challenges, so the UNODC will fully support (any initiative) in this direction.”

Speaking on future threats of violent extremism, Ivo Veenkamp, deputy executive director of Hedayah, an international centre for countering terrorism, said space for dialogue must be encouraged with citizens to provide them with a platform to be an active member of the society and allow them to voice their grievances.

He said there is a need to identify and research sub-groups for a more specific response.
“Compare and contrast online and offline activities of radical right extremist groups to best assess the groups’ reach, scope and impact,” Veenkamp said.

The three-day conference ends Tuesday.