Slideshow: Meet the Dubai Police SWAT team

Established in the early 1990s, the Dubai Police SWAT team hosts the UAE SWAT Challenge, a highly regarded event in the international law enforcement community

By Johan Wessels

The Dubai Police SWAT team is a highly trained and elite unit within the Dubai Police force, dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of the citizens and visitors of Dubai.

The Dubai Police SWAT team was established in the early 1990s, as the city's law enforcement capabilities were rapidly expanding to meet the demands of a rapidly developing city.

In Dubai, the SWAT team is part of the General Department of Protective Security and Emergency and is called upon to respond to the most critical and dangerous incidents in the city. With advanced skills, expertise and state-of-the-art equipment, the SWAT team is prepared to face any challenge and keep the city secure. The SWAT team is made up of highly trained officers who undergo extensive physical, mental and firearms training to prepare them for the demanding nature of their work.

The Dubai Police SWAT team is committed to using the latest technology to enhance its operations and improve its effectiveness. For example, they use AI-powered patrol cars that are equipped with cameras and sensors to detect and respond to crimes in real time. They also use virtual reality training to simulate high-risk incidents and provide officers with the opportunity to practice their skills in a controlled environment.

In addition to responding to high-risk incidents, the Dubai Police SWAT team is also involved in a variety of community outreach programs. They understand the importance of building strong relationships with the communities they serve, and they work to promote public safety, crime prevention, and community building through initiatives such as neighborhood watch programs, youth outreach programs, and other community policing efforts.

The training and preparation of the Dubai Police SWAT team is ongoing, and they are constantly improving their skills and refining their tactics. They participate in regular training exercises, courses, and real-life based scenarios.

The primary role of the Dubai Police SWAT team is to respond to high-risk incidents such as barricaded suspects, hostage rescues and terrorism.
The team is equipped with the latest weapons and tactical gear, including ballistic vests and helmets, gas masks, night vision equipment and more.
The team has access to state-of-the-art equipment such as armored vehicles, drones and robots, which they use to gather intelligence, gain tactical advantages, and minimize risk to themselves and others.
The team is trained in a range of tactics and techniques to resolve incidents, including negotiating with suspects, performing dynamic entries and providing tactical medical support.
One of the strengths of the Dubai Police SWAT team is its ability to work together as a cohesive unit. Team members undergo extensive training and drills to develop their teamwork and communication skills, allowing them to respond to incidents quickly and effectively.
In 2006, the SWAT Team established the first Police SWAT Maritime Operations Team in the UAE. This further enhances the team's ability to respond to a wide range of high-risk situations, including those that occur on the water.
The specialized training and equipment of the maritime operations team allow it to effectively safeguard the waters of Dubai against any threat or aggression, including those from the air and underwater.
The integration of air, underwater and high-speed attack boat capabilities into the SWAT Maritime Operations Team allows it to effectively respond to a wide range of incidents and to provide a robust and comprehensive security presence on the waters of Dubai. The team is also supported by highly trained TCCC tactical medics who can provide life-saving medical support to officers and suspects during incidents.
The establishment of the first female-only SWAT team by the Dubai Police in 2023 is a significant development and a testament to their commitment to promoting gender diversity in the law enforcement community.
In addition to keeping the Dubai Police SWAT Team on an international level, the Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police Force, H.E. Lt/General Abdullah Khalifa Almarri established the UAE SWAT Challenge.
The UAE SWAT Challenge is a highly regarded event in the international law enforcement community and is considered a benchmark for evaluating the effectiveness and operational readiness of swat teams.
The five events in the UAE SWAT Challenge test the participants' physical fitness, firearms proficiency, tactical knowledge and teamwork abilities.
The UAE SWAT Challenge provides a comprehensive assessment of the teams' abilities and allows them to demonstrate their skills and expertise to an international audience.
Overall, the UAE SWAT Challenge is an important event for the Dubai Police SWAT Team and for the international law enforcement community (63 international teams), and it showcases the commitment to excellence and operational readiness of the participating teams.

About the author

Johan W. Wessels has 33 years of experience in law enforcement of which 30 years are within SWAT Training & SWAT Team Development. He has served as the chief instructor for the Dubai Police SWAT Team since 2004. 

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