DUBAI // Dubai Police have launched a campaign to increase crime awareness among non-Arab nationalities.
The initiative will advise residents how to identify forms of fraud and financial deception, including cheque fraud, online scams and supposed sorcery.
Police will reinforce driving rules such as drink driving and explain the country's customs on public decency and use of inappropriate gestures. In its first stage, the campaign will target Indian, Pakistani and Filipino communities through lectures and demonstrations. The message will be reinforced using an advertising campaign.
About 3,000 of the 20,000 members of Dubai Police are non-Arabs. Many have participated in the scheme by identifying the issues it needs to address.
Diplomatic officials have welcomed the move as a step towards reducing "fear" of the police.
"We are raising the level of awareness in these communities through an approach that will ultimately reduce the victimisation level among them and the crime rate over all," said Major Mohammed al Muhairi, the director of the criminal awareness department at Dubai Police.
"We have collected research and information on the various crimes and criminal behaviours affecting each community and have created a targeted approach to tackle them."
The Indian, Pakistani and Filipino communities form about 70 per cent of Dubai's population, according to statistics from the Ministry of Labour and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs. So far the police have taken the presentation to companies including ETA Ascon and Landmark Group, as well as the Indian High School parent's group.
The Indian consul general welcomed the scheme. "This engagement can take fear of the police out of the community," Sanjay Verma said.
"Apprehension about the police surrounds the force whether in India or elsewhere so this can help familiarise the community with the police. It can raise the level of consciousness and awareness."
Major al Muhairi stressed that the scheme also aims to bridge the gap between police and the public.
"We have reached out to the different consulates and social clubs in Dubai, presenting them with our campaigns and seeking tie- ups with them," he said.
"We are aiming to have the awareness campaign publicised in every language, therefore we have communicated the material to the consulates to print in their local language newspapers in the country."
Social clubs representing the country's main nationality groups are also participating, he said.
"Within the Indian community, we have the Punjabi, Tamil and Malbari groupings, each with their own social hierarchy and community. Therefore we have established with the community leaders programmes targeting their needs and expanding their knowledge of the laws and crimes around them."
Major al Muhairi said his department was working to expand the campaign to other UAE-based communities next year.
* With additional reporting by Ramola Talwar Badam