Dubai. A new police unit is being established to provide security along the Dubai Metro lines.
The Dubai Transport Police, with almost 200 officers already trained, will patrol the 74km of track, 47 stations and associated roads serving the Metro.
Eventually Dubai Police hope to have more than 600 officers in the Transportation Security Department. Two more batches of recruits are set to graduate this summer.
The uniformed officers, who will have the power of arrest, are undergoing training by members of the British Transport Police.
“The unit would work and liaise with Civil Defence, ambulance emergency services and Roads and Transport officials to make the Metro as safe as possible,” said Col Abdullah Ali Gheith, the director of Dubai Police’s protective security and emergency department.
As part of the deal, the British officers will be a visible presence when the Metro opens in September, offering on-the-ground policing and training.
Col Gheith was speaking during a meeting with Willy Baker, the British Transport Police chief inspector, who is overseeing training.
Although the unit’s training will focus mostly on security and safety procedures, it will also include how to spot, defuse or detonate explosive devices, Col Gheith and Mr Baker said.
Eventually the Dubai Transport Police will also be assigned to the proposed tram project in Al Sufouh and the Marina.
Legislation expected to be announced this summer will further protect the Metro stations and trains.
Anyone caught endangering other passengers, damaging Metro property or engaging in other antisocial behaviour may be subject to fines. The entire Metro system will be monitored by 24-hour cameras; the transport police will have direct access to the footage.
Col Gheith hopes the unit protecting the Metro will benefit as much as possible from the information provided by Mr Baker and the expertise of the British Transport Police.
“The next phase of training will include further seminars and the posting of officers from the British Transport Police to Dubai to offer on-the-ground training to Dubai Police Transport officers in the metro in the areas of security,” Mr Baker said.
Col Gheith said daily patrol duties would remain the primary focus. “Most important of all are the security inspections, and dealing with the public and how to secure the facilities for the Metro, but there will be additional training on security and traffic safety, which was co-ordinated with the transportation security officers as well,” he said.
The Dubai Metro cost about Dh15.5 billion (US$4.2bn). The Red Line is scheduled to be operational by September 9 and the Green Line is planned to open in March 2010.
www.thenational.ae by Salam Hafez