Portrait of a Nation: How a Sharjah officer won Sheikh Mohammed's approval

First Warrant Officer Fatima Al Darmaki started her career 20 years ago at Sharjah Central Jail

Fatima Al Darmaki at Wasit Police Station in Sharjah. She was recently recognised for her hard work by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. Pawan Singh / The National
Fatima Al Darmaki at Wasit Police Station in Sharjah. She was recently recognised for her hard work by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. Pawan Singh / The National

Set amongst the hustle and heat of central Sharjah, the imposing white walls of Wasit Police Station might seem like an intimidating prospect to some.

But step inside its cool interior and visitors are more likely to be greeted by a beaming smile than a frosty stare.

Behind the main reception desk sits First Warrant Officer Fatima Al Darmaki, a new recruit to the impressive-looking bureau.

Her cheerful grin and infectious laugh are a welcoming sight for all, instantly calming the nerves of any visitor in distress.

“I’m the only woman in my family to join the police force - it was a dream for me and my family supported it,” Ms Al Darmaki, 51, told The National.

“It wasn’t an easy task but I was happy to do it. I love my job.”

Ms Al Darmaki started her formidable career 20 years ago as an officer at Sharjah Central Jail.

Her job there was to accompany female prisoners to court, or to supervise their deportation after serving their prison sentence.

Fatima Al Darmaki at Wasit Police Station in Sharjah. Pawan Singh / The National
Fatima Al Darmaki at Wasit Police Station in Sharjah. Pawan Singh / The National

Through her hard work and cheery nature, Ms Al Darmaki gradually rose up the ranks.

And last week her years of dedication paid off with the most prestigious recognition of all – a personal thank you from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

“Sheikh Mohammed’s recognition came as a huge surprise to me and gave me a big push forward,” she said.

“My country and our rulers recognised my skills and I will stay grateful to them for the rest of my life.

“If you smile at people and treat them with respect, modesty and simplicity, it will reflect positively on your life and career.

“I’m always ready to serve my country with all that I have.”

Today, Ms Al Darmaki sees her years of service at Sharjah Central Jail as central to her new role.

She was initially transferred to Wasit Police Station in 2015 and moved to the main reception desk five months ago.

Whenever on duty, her key mindset is to treat people with the dignity and respect she believes everyone deserves.

“Treating all prisoners equally and trying to understand their needs was a major goal of mine at the jail,” she said.

“I remember one time when I was accompanying a Bangladeshi prisoner to Abu Dhabi airport to be deported.

“But because we got there late she missed her flight and she began crying as she was so desperate to go home.

“So I went to the ticketing counter and bought her a ticket with my own money.

“Good deeds always pay off, and my own happiness is complete when I see others smiling.”

Since becoming receptionist at the station, Ms Al Darmaki has constantly looked for ways to better help the public.

She now welcomes visitors with a cooling drink from a mini-fridge behind her desk, in an effort to calm any frayed nerves.

“I insisted on having a mini-fridge close to my desk full of cold juices and water to offer people,” she said.

“Sometimes members of the public come in angry or upset so a drink can help cool them down.

“I also try to talk to them gently, in a modest way that my mother taught me long ago. She always used to tell us to be humble.

“I remember once when I was little and we were going to the tailor to design Eid outfits.

‘As we left the house we saw a poor lady sitting outside looking for help.

“My mother took out all the money she had with her and gave it to the woman. She told us the lady needed it more than we did.

“That is only a small example of my mother’s modesty and kindness, she was our role model.”

Updated: September 20, 2019 09:41 AM


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