By Sam Bridge
Dubai Police, Dubai Sports Council team up on project to build sports centres in all police stations and remand centres
A project to build sports centres in all police stations and remand centres in Dubai is underway after a pilot project proved successful.
The six-month pilot project, held under Dubai Police’s Sports and Culture Initiative, saw a sports centre open in Al Qusais Police Station, allowing inmates to play different sports. There was a treadmill as well, and a purpose-built track for inmates to run or take leisurely walks.
It was the first initiative of its kind in the region and Dubai Police partnered with Dubai Sports Council on the project.
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 other had vanished while visits to the doctors had virtually ceased.
Now the project is being rolled out across Dubai. The initiative has already been implemented in three police stations as well as the remand centre at Al Barsha Police Station. By the end of 2020, it will be expanded in all police stations in Dubai as well as remand centres.
“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.
“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 behavior 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.”
Al Adidi added: “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 10pm 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.”