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UAE private sector can do more to help police, says chief

ABU DHABI // Big businesses need to be more aware of the crimes being committed on their watch, one of the country’s most senior police officers has said.

Maj Gen Mohammed Al Romaithi, commander-in-chief of the Abu Dhabi Police, said the private sector has a greater role to play in combating crimes, such as drug smuggling through ports.

He was speaking at the Unity for Security Forum in Abu Dhabi, which is being attended by Interpol officials and law enforcement personnel from across the globe.

“The private sector and those fighting cybercrime have taken a huge leap when it comes to providing the tools needed to combat such crimes,” said Maj Gen Al Romaithi.

“But if we speak of the inspection of containers at borders, whether land or at airports, until now we don’t have the mechanisms that ensure the clearance of those containers of any types of drugs that cross our borders.

“We know they cross our borders and transit to other countries through our country, so the private sector needs to work on this here.”

Working hand-in-hand with the private sector would help police in the fight against crime.

“If we stay on this track and keep working collectively, we’ll be able to achieve security,” he said.

“If we want to protect future generations, achieve prosperity and have freedom of movement, we need to ensure we’re doing what it takes to protect the world from all attacks that are coming to us from different directions. We live in a difficult time, not just here, but in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East too and we are not immune in the UAE.”

Peter Drennan, undersecretary general for safety and security at the United Nations, said that some international organisations are struggling to keep up with the changing world.

“We must make them relevant and reflective of the environment in which we operate now. We have to keep pace with social, economic and political change,” he said.

In 2015, the number of deaths from terrorism reached more than 29,000. Since 2000, there have been 73,000 terrorist attacks globally killing more than 170,000 people with the global financial effect of terrorism in 2015 reaching more than 89bn US dollars.

“This is only one per cent of the global effect of violence,” Mr Drennan said. “The magnitude of the problem we’re dealing with is significant. This is just terrorism — add to these figures of the deaths and global financial effect from armed conflict and organised crime and the figures are almost incomprehensible.”

Organised crime generates 870 billion dollars annually and 40 armed conflicts globally in 2015, resulting in 167,000 deaths and 12.1 million refugees.

“These figures are staggering on any scale,” he added.

“When we’re looking at organised crime, terrorism and armed conflict, we’re actually looking at the symptoms of the underlying causes. And they’re very much framed in social, political and economic factors such as high levels of poverty, lack of education, high level of youth, economic marginalisation and perceived lack of political reform.”

Dr Abdul Latif Al Zayani, secretary general of the GCC, said there is great mistrust between different parties working in security.

“It’s when interests meet that we achieve our goals,” he said. “We need to have a holistic and systematic approach and a structure, like a GCC Interpol that we are creating now, with Gulf centres to counter narcotics and emergency crisis response that create focal points to bridge those barriers to provide a kind of trust between parties. Trust is important and the more we enhance it, the more we can achieve in making the world a safer place.”

The conference continues today.

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