VIDEO: Dubai Police use healing power of sports to spread positivity among inmates - GulfToday

VIDEO: Dubai Police use healing power of sports to spread positivity among inmates

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Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, with Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of DSC, and Brigadier Yousef Al Adidi, head of Dubai Police’s Sports and Culture Initiative, at the inauguration of sports facilities at the remand centre of Al Barsha Police Station.

Amir Naqvi, Sports Editor

The exceptional power of sport as a force for good has been the subject of numerous studies around the globe. Closer to home, there was one conducted by Dubai Police recently.

It was a six-month pilot project, held under Dubai Police’s Sports and Culture Initiative, where they opened a Sports Centre in Al Qusais Police Station, allowing inmates to play different sports, as a team or as an individual, or workout on a made-to-order gym machine. There was a treadmill as well, and a purpose-built track for inmates to run or take leisurely walks.

It was the first such initiative of its kind in the region, and Dubai Sports Council were Dubai Police’s strategic partners on the project.


‘There were two inmates who would have heated verbal exchanges virtually every other day. But after playing football together, they became really good friends. They were from different nationalities, but they became like brothers’

Brigadier Yousef Al Adidi, Director of Al Qusais Police Station


After six months, studies revealed a marked improvement in the attitude of inmates. Playing sports together and working out had fostered feelings of solidarity, co-operation and tolerance among the inmates, and helped them develop personal and social skills. They were healthier and happier, and all the misgivings about the others had vanished. Visits to the doctors had virtually ceased.

Barsha2-750x450 Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of DSC, and other top officials of Dubai Police at the inauguration of sports facilities at the remand centre of Al Barsha Police Station.


“When we compared the behaviour of inmates before and after the trial, there was a huge difference in their behaviour and attitude towards each other,” said Brigadier Yousef Al Adidi, Director of Al Qusais Police Station and head of the Sports and Culture Initiative. “We saw the benefits it had on not just the physical health of the inmates, but also their mental well-being. They were a lot happier and showing much better bonding and teamwork.


‘By the end of 2020, we will implement this initiative in all 11 existing police stations in the Emirate of Dubai as well as the 12th one that is taking shape, and two additional remand centres.’


“Before the start of this initiative, we had seen instances of aggressive behaviour from certain inmates. Nothing major, just minor incidents. But after taking part in this initiative, their behaviour changed completely. They became calm and friendly towards each other, and started enjoying their time together, started showing concern for each other. 

“There were zero incidents of aggressive behaviour in that time. The levels of tolerance and teamwork increased. Their health improved and happiness increased. We had considerably fewer requests to see doctors. The levels of depression and pessimism also came down considerably. Overall, the atmosphere became a lot better and positive.

“In fact, there were two inmates who would have heated verbal exchanges virtually every other day. But after playing football together, on the same team usually, they became really good friends and we never had any trouble from them after that. They were from different nationalities, but they became like brothers.”


Impressed with the project’s findings, Brigadier Adidi approached Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, and following his approval, Dubai Police, with Dubai Sports Council as their partner, have started implementing this project in all police stations and remand centres in the Emirate of Dubai, building sports centres in each one of them.

“The initiative has already been implemented in three police stations as well as the remand centre at Al Barsha Police Station, which is the first detention facility to benefit from this initiative,” said Adidi.

“By the end of 2020, we will implement this initiative in all 11 existing police stations in the Emirate of Dubai as well as the 12th one that is taking shape, and two additional remand centres.

“This initiative is a perfect example of Dubai Government entities working together for the good of the community. The partnership with Dubai Sports Council has been a major contributor towards the success of this initiative. They have pushed really hard to speed up the implementation of the project.”

Confident that this initiative would help inmates develop and enhance a whole range of their soft skills related to communication, leadership, problem-solving and teamwork, he said: “In Dubai, we feel responsible for all segments of our community, even those who might have committed a mistake. We want to treat our inmates as normally and humanely as possible, and give them every opportunity to rehabilitate and reform, no matter their nationality or crime.

Talking about the facilities available at the Sports Centres, Brigadier Adidi added: “We are using really high quality equipment. Synthetic turf that we are using in the playing and jogging area is of a very high quality. The weight training machines and treadmills are also from among the best you can find. They are tailor-made for use by inmates and designed in a way that they cannot use any equipment to harm themselves or others. For example, there are no dumbbells.

“The Sports Centre is for the recreation and rehabilitation of the inmates. It is not a gym. It is like a playground where inmates can go and have fun playing sports. It is open all day from 6am until 10 in the night. So whenever the inmates find time, they can go running or weight training, or play football or basketball.

“We have had such centres in our jails for a long time, but this is the first such initiative for remand centres in this part of the world. We want our remand centres to be centres of reform, rehabilitation and re-integration, where we help inmates shed negatives and create a positive future, through love and care.”


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