Speaker for 24th March 2015

Photo: Vice President Mike Turner greets Richard Russell, with Club Members Ivan Gough (L) and Norman Maxwell (R)
Talk by Mr. Richard Russell on ‘Policing Change in the United Arab Emirates’
As the President John Graham was on holiday, Mike Turner (Vice President) took the chair. Mike proceeded to introduce the speaker for today Richard Russell QPM LLB (Hons). Richard who had served for 31 years as an officer in the RUC/PSNI served all over the province, eventually retiring in 2008 with the rank of Chief Superintendent. After retirement he worked in the University of Ulster helping to train new solicitors and barristers. During that time he was Project Manager for a EU policing project, which looked at how the Turkish Ministry of Interior could introduce accountability mechanisms for the Turkish Police.

In March 2010 Richard was recruited as a Strategic Advisor for Policing and Security working for the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior. In March 2015 he returned to Northern Ireland to set up his own consulting business.


The talk Richard gave was based around an excellent PowerPoint presentation entitled 'Policing Change in the United Arab Emirates'. But first, we were treated to part of a film giving a brief history of the UAE and highlighting some of it's popular tourist sites - buildings; beaches; bridges; as well as a look the culture; clothes and cuisine of the people. This was narrated by Liam Neeson, and made us feel almost at home!

Richard began his own talk showing members location and size of the UAE. He followed this with a brief account of the population, climate and how the UAE had developed with the discovery of oil 4th ranked in the world with natural gas 17th. The capital Abu Dhabi was one of the most prosperous cities in the world. The legal system was a blend of Islamic (Sharia) law along with civil law. The main function of the Police would be: Patrol; Investigation; Traffic. The officers were community based but they also an air wing. The Police were also responsible for: included: Prisons; Nationality; Residences and Ports (immigration) as well as 'Civil Defence' (Fire and Ambulance). Richard's role also was one of Team Leader for 9 other Strategic Advisors working across the UAE. The number of police in the UAE was quite large, for Abu Dhabi - 36,000 and in Dubai - 15,000 and with other five Emirates - 30,000 in total.

Richard reminded members that Christian Worship was accepted, as was the selling of alcohol. Furthermore the UAE had only existed since 1971, with the pace of change overtaking culture. *Modern cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai being only a generation or two away from desert dwellers and only 30 years ago they were shooting each other - Sound familiar?!?!

In his concluding remarks Richard said that the targets for 2021 would be a feeling of safety to be 100%, have the most reliable police service, respond to emergencies to be 4 minutes for fire, police, ambulance and to have most services offered electronically, and to have road deaths reduced to 3 per 100,000 population - Currently it is 6 per 100,000 in the UK and 4.3 in Northern Ireland (2014 statistics). Norman Maxwell in proposing the vote of thanks congratulated Richard on his most informative presentation and asked the Vice President to pass it on. This was duly done and the members showed their appreciation.

John Dobson - Press Officer

For more information about the UAE (United Arab Emirates), just 'click' this link.
For a short picture show of some views around the UAE, just ‘click’ the logo below: