Anti-drug tsar needed in UAE to fight 'big shots' says police chief

Efforts to combat drugs are being hampered by poor co-ordination between departments, says head of Dubai force.

DUBAI // An anti-drug tsar heading a federal agency is needed for police to succeed in taking on "the big shots", the chief of the Dubai force said yesterday. At present, efforts to combat drugs are being hampered by poor co-ordination between departments, said Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim. "The efforts which each department individually are doing are enormous, but the results are not on the same level," he said.

"This is simply because of the individual planning and execution. Therefore, there is a need for unified work." Gen Tamim called for more work to be done by a pre-existing "drug combating committee" that operates under the Ministry of Interior. "We need to appoint a federal director, with wide experience and a strategic view on how to lead the different drug combating teams in the country, so we can stage a ruthless war on drug traffickers and traders, especially the big shots," said Gen Tamim.

The appointment of such a director was expected soon, he said. Gen Tamim spoke as Dubai Police and the Red Crescent Authority signed an agreement on a drug awareness programme. Volunteers will be trained to carry out the awareness programme, which is targeting more than 640,000 pupils in 1,190 public schools. Gen Tamim criticised the granting of pardons to second-time drug offenders. "To pardon those convicted for drug addiction for the second time is a burden on the country's drug combating efforts," he said.

"When a person knows that he will escape punishment, he does not care if he breaks the law." Gen Tamim said the drug problem had become more complex, and everyone had a role to play in fighting it, from family and schools to religious and governmental institutions. "If each and every one of us do not carry out their duties, they will play a role in the spread of the problem," he said.