Abu Dhabi Police

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Abu Dhabi Police
Common name Abu Dhabi Police
Abu Dhabi Police Logo.jpg
Logo of the Abu Dhabi Police
Agency overview
Formed 1957; 58 years ago (1957)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Abu Dhabi, Al Sa'ada Street
Elected officer responsible Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
* Divisional agency: Sub division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

Abu Dhabi Police is the primary law enforcement agency in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates.


Under the command of Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the Abu Dhabi Police is primarily responsible for enforcing criminal law, enhancing public safety, maintaining order and keeping the peace throughout the Emirate. As a representative of the Ministry of Interior, and in its capacity as a global partner, the Abu Dhabi Police also works closely with local, national and international agencies to contribute to global peace and stability. Integrity, honesty and respect for human rights are the core values of the Abu Dhabi Police while the notion of public service is a central pillar in Abu Dhabi police thinking. Embraced as a legitimate partner by the community, the Abu Dhabi Police pursue efficiency and effectiveness through the use of the latest technological advancements and systems management practices.

Commanders of Abu Dhabi Police[edit]

Lt. General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
  • Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan (1996 – present)
  • Thani Obeid Khamees Al Rumaithi (1991–1995)
  • Hamad Saeed Ahmed Al Hassani (1975–1991)
  • Mohammed Juma'a Mohammed Al Dhaheri (1974–1975)
  • Mubarak bin Mohammed Al Nahyan (1961–1974)
  • Sultan bin Shakbut Al Nahyan (1957–1961)..


Abu Dhabi Police has taken different designations over its history and been identified by the following six names:

  • General Headquarters of Abu Dhabi Police (2004–present)
  • General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police (1984-2004)
  • General Directorate of Police (1977-1984)
  • Local Ministry of Interior (Abu Dhabi Police) (1971-1977)
  • Command of Police and Public Security (1967-1971)
  • Department of Police and Public Security (1957-1966)

Since the formation of the Abu Dhabi Police in 1957, the evolution of the police has occurred in four primary stages, as follows:

Foundation stage
  • Abu Dhabi Police was formed in 1957 by the then ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Shakbut bin Al Nahyan.
  • There were 80 police officers with tasks that included guarding royal locations, markets and banks. They were also required to monitor boats in the surrounding waters, as well as bring people before the ruler that wanted to voice concerns and have disputes addressed.
  • By 1959 the number of police officers had grown to more than 150 and the Police Department was located north of Al-Hosn Palace in the centre of Abu Dhabi City.
Building stage
  • The Building Stage of Abu Dhabi Police occurred following the accession of the late Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918-2004). As the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the first President of the United Arab Emirates, a post he held for over 30 years (1971-2004), Sheikh Zayed gave considerable attention to the development of the Abu Dhabi Police.
  • On 1 November 1971, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan issued an order to recognize the government apparatus through the establishment of various Ministries and the Council of Ministers in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Among these Ministries was the Minister of Interior (under regulation of Ministry of Interior No.8 of 1971). The Abu Dhabi Police turned into the local Ministry of Interior and thus attained the responsibilities of the local Ministry of Interior.
  • Under the regulation of Ministry of Interior No.8 of 1971, the Abu Dhabi Police was responsible for establishing security and stability in the Emirate and maintaining the "souls, honour and property" of the people. It was also directly in charge of: Naturalisation and passport matters, prison affairs, traffic affairs, guarding of oil installations, liaison with Arab and International Police Directorates, fighting smuggling and illegal entry of people, drugs, and all forbidden substances as well as the prevention of crime.
Progressive stage
  • This stage was marked by the evolution of the Abu Dhabi Police toward the eventual affiliation and merging into the Federal Ministry of Interior.
  • In December 1979, Mubarak bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, issued a resolution on the executive procedures for the merger of the General Headquarters of Abu Dhabi Police into the Ministry of Interior. The resolution stipulated that the General Headquarters of Abu Dhabi Police would be part of the federal police and security forces affiliated with the Ministry of Interior and would be treated as a General Directorate.
Modernization, qualitative and strategic development stage
  • Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan assumed the role of General Commander of Abu Dhabi Police in 1995. Embodied in the five-year plan of the strategic development of the Abu Dhabi Police (2004-2008) and the succeeding Strategic Plan (2008-2012), this stage has been marked by the modernization of the police force in the pursuit of optimum effectiveness and efficiency. In-particular this stage has witnessed restructuring and growth of the organization, development of concise strategic targets, a focus on employee development as well as significant future technology acquisitions, all with the intention to provide safety, security and an optimum quality of life for the community.

Recent history[edit]


Installing a visionary sense of what it means to be a police officer in the present, Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior has sculptured a new philosophy for the police that ventures beyond the orbit of traditional policing. While resolute in the quest for a safe society free of crime, Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan believes a direct role exists for the police in contributing to the harmonious integration of human society. Understanding harmony as more than the absence of crime, Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan envisions a community free to exist without the sense of fear that alone can be very detrimental to communities. While an ends in itself, the absence of fear speaks to an even grander vision for the police. Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan encourages the police to contribute in a broader sense to the improvement of community quality of life by participating in matters of social and economic welfare, supporting the establishment of equality, promoting cultural understanding and unity as well as advocating a non-violent life-style which also entails facilitating a relationship between any people characterized by respect, justice and goodwill. It is the pursuit of harmony en-captured by these three inter-related concepts: a society free of crime, a community unburdened by the sense of fear and a people provided the opportunity to live a quality life, which is the central tenet of Abu Dhabi Police philosophy.


Colored by this philosophical outlook and faced with a range of trends, challenges and opportunities in police service provision Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan led the transformation of the police force into a new era of qualitative and strategic development. Recognizing that increasing the size of the police force does not necessarily equate to the advancement of harmony, Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan sets about seeking alternative resources and new strategies in the quest to enhance the quality of life in the Abu Dhabi Community. Always looking to increase the department’s effectiveness and efficiency Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan directed the five-year plan for the strategic development of Abu Dhabi Police (2003-2007) and the succeeding Strategic Plan (2008-2012) themed ‘Progressive Police for a Modern City’. Both addressed many important aspects of agency operations including future technology acquisition, employee career development, and the restructuring of Department to better serve the community.

Along with organizational change the strategic plans represent an evolution in the Departments approach to policing. Guided by the understanding that short-term preventative aspects such as patrols and fast paced reaction following a crime are necessary but no longer sufficient to meet the needs of society, Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan implemented a range of measures that reflect equal priority being given to embracing longer-term, proactive, preventative and community oriented measures that target not only crime but also crime producing conditions as the likely potential source for reducing crime, sense of fear and contributing to an improvement in quality of life.

The Abu Dhabi Police philosophical approach and the evolution of policing strategy is further reflected in the many achievements of Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the realms of Police and Security including: Initiating the Ministry of Interior’s centers for rehabilitating persons with special needs in 2002, launching the Community Police Project in 2003, founding the Social Support Center in 2004, implementing a range of practical security measures to counter the problem of child jockeys in camel races, establishing the "iris scan" project – which has succeeded in preventing more than 114,000 persons from returning to the UAE since the project was implemented nationwide and launching the project of the Emirates Identity Authority.


Full-length Ranks of Abu Dhabi Police.
Abu Dhabi Police Ranks - click to enlarge


 Structure of Abu Dhabi Police.
Structure of Abu Dhabi Police- Click to enlarge.
  • Under the Commander General of Abu Dhabi Police there are five departments that report directly.
  • Six General Directorates with their relevant Departments comprise the rest of the ADP, with three other bodies falling under the Deputy Commander General.
  • Abu Dhabi Police employs 12,500 frontline staff.
  • There is a total staff of 36,000 including civil defence, ambulance and fire services and border security.


Search and Rescue[edit]

 UAE Search and Rescue Team.
UAE Search and Rescue Team.

The UAE Urban Search and Rescue Team (UAE USAR) is part of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group, made up of more than 80 countries and orgsnisations. The UAE joined the eilte corps of 16 on 19 December 2009. The team was launched when emergency and public safety department workers were deployed after Pakistan's 2005 earthquake. In 2006 and 2007 they operated in Indonesia. In 2008 in Afghanistan and in 2009 Indonesia again. The UN advisory group was established in 1991 by teams responding to the 1998 Armenian earthquake. Given the high cost of search and rescue missions and the need to dispatch quickly, it was decided to build a group of teams that could be called upon around the world to be deployed in an emergency. The classification is based on globally accepted standards for international search and rescue operations and members have to be able to deploy their teams free of charge. On 25 August 2010, the team travelled to Pakistan to assist with the flood relief effort.[1]

Forensic Services[edit]

In 1980 the first laboratory opened in Abu Dhabi. Has international accreditation IS017025 for 50% of services, including: Toxicology, Alcohol, Biology, DNA, Fingerprint, Doping, Documents (Counterfeiting).

There are 180 staff in Forensic Services plus 100 support staff.

Department of Government and Diplomatic Premises Protection[edit]

Responsible for the protection of government and diplomatic premises. Preparing policies and regulations regarding the establishment of, granting of licences to, monitoring and assessing the performance of the private security companies.

Department of Special Tasks[edit]

Responsible for planning for riot prevention and VIP protection.

Department of F7[edit]

Provides teams at serious incidents including sniper units, explosives experts, divers etc. This highly trained Team deals with tasks, not much is known about them however some believe they are seen in action in the Murder of Ibolya Ryan video which took place in Abu Dhabi.

Criminal Investigations Department (CID)[edit]

Responsible for strategies, policies and procedures for crime reduction and control. Carrying out criminal investigations.

Directorate of Traffic and Patrols[edit]

 Abu Dhabi Police vehicles.
Abu Dhabi Police Vehicles.
An Abu Dhabi Police vehicle

Responsible for monitoring traffic and traffic violations. Includes marked and unmarked patrol cars.

Traffic Patrols now use the Mobile Data Transfer System, also known as AREST (Accident Referencing and Analysing System ). This allows information from an accident, traffic violation or major congestion to be sent to all key authorities within seconds. After an accident the vehicle details, description of the incident, vehicle history and photographs are uploaded and connected to the Abu Dhabi Municipality and Abu Dhabi Police GHQ. It is designed not only to allow for a faster processing of accident reports or fines it also allows for detailed data to be compiled over, for example, accident trouble spots or areas of traffic build up. This can be used by the authorities to investigate trouble spots and devise solutions.

Department of Vehicles and Licensing[edit]

Issues vehicle and driving licences.

Department of Community Police[edit]

Established in 2003 as a method to enhance the proactive role of the police and community in crime prevention. The community police are also active in social programs and local events as a means to strengthen relations with the public.

Department of Social Support Centres[edit]

Responsible for issue of domestic and household violence. Providing care and psychological support to the victims of violence and crimes against children, women and the elderly.

Operations Department[edit]

Responsible for planning and managing any security crisis or disaster, crisis management and emergency situations.

Air Wing Section[edit]

Manages and provides aerial search and rescue operations. Monitoring and tracking of other criminal activities.

ADP Air Wing.
Abu Dhabi Police Air Wing Helicopter.

Security Inspection Department[edit]

Police Dogs Section (K9). Carries out search, criminal investigation, anti-narcotics, identification parades, tracing and detection of weapons and explosives. private security business development (PSBD)

Department of Weapons and Explosives[edit]

Issues weapons and explosive licences and deals with all activities related to the licencing, usage, transportation, storage, detection and diffusion of explosives.

Facial Recognition System[edit]

The programme was established in 2007 after evaluation of 1560 samples from 30 individuals. It measures 300 reference points across the face. The UAE is the first country to match the system with criminal lists at border control points.

Iris Technology[edit]

The main study into the effectiveness of this technology is known as the UAE Study. In partnership with the University of Cambridge (UK) a pair comparison of 200 billion was conducted among a sample of 632,500 irises. No false matches were detected. The system is in place at all UAE entry and exit ports.

Virtual Global Taskforce[edit]

In March 2010, the Ministry of Interior became a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce.[2] A Higher Committee was formed (Ministerial Decision 240 of 2010) for the Protection of Children. The Chair of this committee is Major General Nasser Salem L. Al Nuaimi. The Chair represents the UAE on the board of the VGT. The Higher Committee for Child Protection was issued with the following responsibilities:

  • The establishment of a Child Protection Centre
  • Monitoring child exploitation on the internet
  • Controlling abuse through public networks
  • Raising Awareness
  • Developing and strengthening the role of the family

Police College[edit]

The College was established by the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Federal Law No.(1) was issued in 1985 and stipulated the foundation of the College. The aim was stated as to create an effective police force, enhance the security of the country, safeguard its achievements and gain the confidence of society.

The law initially stipulated that the duration of study and training in the College would be two years, after which the student would receive a Diploma in Policing Sciences.

The duration of study was changed to four years in 1992 following the issue of Federal Law No. (5). The study programme includes practical and field training. After successful completion of the programme the student shall be awarded a bachelor's degree in law and policing sciences.

An Institute for officers training affiliated to the Police College was established by the same Law of 1992. In 2002 the system of study in the College was changed to incorporate training theory programmes and field work.

According to this new system the four years duration of study are divided into two levels of study consisting of eight terms:

  • Basic level: two years (one year for theoretical study and another for field work).
  • Advanced level: (two years).

These two levels are preceded by an introductory period for the physical and psychological preparation of the students. After successful completion of the study and training programmes the student will be awarded a Bachelor's degree in Police Sciences and Criminal Justice.[3]


Golden Jubilee, 2007[edit]

Abu Dhabi Police celebrated its golden jubilee on 5 December 2007. A mass wedding ceremony of 50 nationals, symposiums and lectures, exhibitions of the work of Abu Dhabi Police, a book documenting the history of the police force and collection of half a million signatures on a huge canvas were all part of the celebrations. The occasion was used to showcase the police force, its security capabilities, technological applications and its training. Many social activities, community programmes, sports activities were part of the golden jubilee celebrations. Organised under the directives of Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan celebrations were held under the slogan 'Fifty years of building leadership and distinction'.[4]


 ADP F999.
Abu Dhabi Police F999.

As part of the first ever Formula One Grand Prix to be in Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Police unveiled the world’s fastest police car – the F999.

On Abu Dhabi Corniche on 31 October, thousands turned out to witness a drive past of police vehicles past and present, a performance by the Abu Dhabi Police band before the F999 was unveiled.[5]

Falcon Bike[edit]

Falcon Bike.
Abu Dhabi Police Falcon Bike.

The bike was unveiled at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre on 29 May 2009. Built by the custom bike specialists Orange County Choppers – featured on the Discovery Channel show "American Chopper" – the bike is used for community projects and awareness raising across the UAE. Paul Teutel Snr, star of American Chopper and founder of OCC, took part in a live action and film performance which culminated in the Falcon Bike taking to the stage.[6]


999 Magazine[edit]

999 is a monthly magazine issued by the Ministry of Interior in the UAE since 1971. The magazine, known previously as ‘Al Shurta’, was relaunched under the new title of 999 in October 2008. 999 Magazine features news and interviews with staff members of the Ministry of Interior. The magazine is distributed in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Abu Dhabi Police, Fifty Years of Progress, 1957-2007[edit]

In 2007, to mark the 50th anniversary of Abu Dhabi Police, 215 page book was published chronicling the force from its inception to the present day.


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ [2][dead link]
  3. ^ "البوابة الإلكترونية لكلية الشرطة". Police College. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Abu Dhabi Police gear up for golden jubilee celebrations". GulfNews.com. 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  5. ^ [3][dead link]
  6. ^ "Article". The National. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2013. [dead link]