UAE: How Dubai Police’s first female horseback patrol officer is inspiring generations

Halima Al Saadi has always been enchanted by the world of policing



By Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Fri 10 Dec 2021, 10:57 AM

Last updated: Sat 18 Dec 2021, 2:05 PM

At a young age, Halima Al Saadi felt an igniting passion when watching crime movies and detective series.

Enchanted by the world of policing, she aspired to one day become an officer who plays an active role in maintaining law and order. Little did she know that at 47, she would become Dubai’s first female mounted police officer.

Starting her journey at Dubai Police 23 years ago, Captain Al Saadi worked her way up as an officer.

Speaking to Khaleej Times at the Dubai Police Equestrian Department in Al Awir, Al Saadi said: “I joined Dubai Police with the idea that I will be like the detectives I watched in movies. I entered the field and found myself involved in criminal investigations and worked across different departments throughout my career. I fulfilled my ambitions and I will always aim for higher.”

Becoming the first female rider in Dubai Police’s horseback patrols did not come overnight. Al Saadi said it took years of work to earn her position today.

Besides her full-time role, the mother of two earned a bachelor's degree in law from the Dubai Police Academy and a diploma in research and investigation from the General Department of Criminal Investigation at Dubai Police.

Prior to her job at the Mounted Police unit, Al Saadi worked at the General Department of Airports Security and the Anti-Cybercrime Department at the General Department of Criminal Investigation.

She began her equestrian training at Dubai Police from 2014. As a female police officer, she found the support she needed to prove herself in a male-dominated field.

Humble and passionate, Al Saadi said “self-motivation and determination are key to achieving your dreams. You need to have a purpose and work towards it every day. Thankfully, we are lucky to have a government that gives us the platform to fulfil our potential.”

She added: “I’m proud to be an Emirati woman, serving my country and contributing to its security and safety efforts.”

Maintaining public safety

As part of her role as a mounted police officer, Al Saadi rides across local neighbourhoods to ensure rules are being followed. Besides administrative work, her field job entails seizing illegal vehicles, arresting criminals, issuing fines for violators and implementing Covid-19 precautionary measures.

“Our role during the pandemic is to raise community awareness on the necessity to wear masks and maintain social distancing," she said. “Horseback patrols enable us to access narrow alleys that police vehicles cannot reach to disperse any gatherings and ensure social distancing rules are being followed.”

Her role also involves providing security coverage at tourist destinations. “Tourists feel comfortable when they see police around them. It gives them peace of mind and makes them feel safer," she said.

Al Saadi takes on shifts based on requests from different police stations looking to locate a suspect in a neighbourhood or disperse crowds violating Covid-19 safety measures.

Passion for horses

Al Saadi’s passion for horses started at a young age when she used to join her family on outdoor rides. She started her professional training at the Equestrian Department in 2014, obtaining comprehensive hands-on knowledge about horses.

“I learned the basics that I would not have learned in other sporting clubs. I was introduced to the anatomy and psychology of horses, learned to saddle and communicate with horses, along with many other skills.”

On her relationship with horses, Al Saadi said: “Naturally, when you meet someone for the first time, you try to meet the needs of the person, find a middle ground, establish trust and maintain the respect between the both of you. It’s exactly the same with horses. You need to be in control.”

Inspiring young generations

Al Saadi said the UAE leaders have empowered women to prove themselves across various fields.

“Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi, Mother of the Nation, has always been my role model. She encourages women in all fields," she said. “Today, we have female judges, ministers and diplomats. In the police, we have female detectives and investigators. Women have boldly taken on the challenge and proved themselves with sheer competence.”

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Born in a family of athletes, Al Saadi is now an inspiration for her children and grandchildren who aspire to follow suit. She finds special pleasure when children approach her during her shift to take pictures with the horse and ask for a ride.

“I often hear encouraging words from the community when they see me on duty. It’s exciting to see people engaging with us during our duty on field. At the end of the day, we work for their safety,” Al Saadi said.

sherouk@khaleejtimes.com


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