Emirati pupil thanks Dubai Police for changing his life after school fight went viral

The 16-year-old had a transformative experience under the Naseej rehabilitation scheme

Colonel Dr Abdulrahman Sharaf Al Muamari, Director of Dubai Police's Hemaya International Centre, said the scheme was aimed at helping offenders address the root cause of their issues. Pawan Singh / The National
Powered by automated translation

Efforts by Dubai Police to help teenagers through their formative years have received praise.

A 16-year-old Emirati pupil, who preferred to remain anonymous, sat down with The National to recount his transformative experience with Dubai Police's Naseej scheme.

The initiative was a response to a school fight involving him and others, which was recorded and circulated on social media.

The footage displayed a chaotic scene with nearly a dozen pupils embroiled in the altercation. All involved, including those who filmed and distributed the video, were summoned by the authorities, while pupils and parents were briefed about the scheme.

I'm grateful to Dubai Police for their guidance instead of punishment
16-year-old pupil

"My parents, who are both employed, were really enthusiastic about it, and so was I," the pupil said.

He said others were initially apprehensive, especially about staying overnight at a police facility, but the pupil now sees the clear benefits of the programme, as it involved diverse activities such as daily exercises, self-control techniques and legal education.

"I started noticing a positive shift in my behaviour within the first few days," he said.

"My academic performance improved – especially in my favourite subjects, maths and physics. And I've started to react more proportionately to situations, giving them their due weight."

Currently in his last year of secondary school, he is now focused on higher education and aiming for a degree that can help him to give something back to his community.

"I'm grateful to Dubai Police for their guidance instead of punishment," he said, expressing a desire to return the favour.

Naseej, which was launched in March, targets teenage school pupils who have been reported for disruptive behaviour.

"Between March and October, some youngsters were reported to the police by members of the public, while others were detected by officers," said Colonel Dr Abdulrahman Al Muamari, Director of Dubai Police's Hemaya International Centre.

Reported behaviour included stunt driving, engaging in fights, causing disturbances and using spray cans in public places, which are illegal and can lead to criminal prosecution.

A different approach

Col Al Muamari said the scheme, launched in co-ordination with parents, was intended to help offenders avoid court and address the root cause of their issues.

Four groups of teenagers have participated in the first eight months of the programme, with the first group spending 30 days at the Dubai Police Training Institute in March.

It comes as the force has reduced teenage drug abuse by 77 per cent through its programmes targeted at 15 to 23 year olds repeat users.

The drug abuse rate among first-time users in this age group has also been cut by 29 per cent.

The programmes were launched by Dubai Police's International Hemaya Centre, an affiliate of the General Department of Anti-Narcotics Department, between 2017 and 2022.

They involved various community programmes and activities aimed at reducing drug abuse among young people in the emirate.

The International Hemaya Centre opened in 2017 and aims to provide community support, focusing on drug-related issues to prevent crime.

It has reached more than 67 million people from 130 nationalities, including students and pupils, educational staff, parents and professionals.

"The summer course attracted 1,342 pupils, including 952 first-timers from 19 nationalities," he said.

The winter course, which started on Monday, will offer specialist training in various disciplines to 500 pupils, including training in artificial intelligence and at the police's K9 unit.

These focus on evaluating programmes, analysing police and criminal investigation statistics, and setting awareness priorities.

Other sections are dedicated to supporting individuals and families on the regular drug-testing schedule.

"Our goal is to deter crime in our society," Col Dr Al Muamari said.

"By raising awareness, we aim to reduce crime rates and alleviate the burden on police and legal authorities."

Updated: March 28, 2024, 9:22 AM