Slideshow: Dubai Police women-only SWAT team participates in 2023 UAE SWAT Challenge
The team ranked 12th out of 55 teams in the Hostage Rescue event, 10th out of 55 teams in the Assault Event and 6th out of 55 teams in the Officer Rescue event
By Johan W. Wessels
In 2021, the Dubai Police announced the establishment of the first women-only SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team in the Middle East. The team consists of 38 female police officers who underwent specialized training in close combat, shooting and tactics to prepare for the role.
The creation of the women-only SWAT team was aimed at promoting gender equality and empowering women in law enforcement. It was also intended to enhance the ability of the police to respond to security threats involving women, children and families.
Women in law enforcement
The Dubai Police have been taking steps to increase the participation of women in law enforcement in recent years. In 2019, the police force announced a goal of increasing the percentage of women in the force to 20% by 2030. The establishment of the women-only SWAT team was a major milestone in this effort, and it was widely hailed as a significant step forward for women in law enforcement in the region.
The women-only SWAT team in Dubai is a testament to the fact that women can serve on special operations teams and excel in these roles. It also serves as an inspiration for other law enforcement agencies around the world to consider the benefits of recruiting and retaining more women in their ranks.
2023 UAE SWAT Challenge
The women’s SWAT team recently participated in the 2023 UAE SWAT Challenge. This event brings together law enforcement agencies from across the UAE and beyond to compete in tactical and shooting challenges.
The challenges in the UAE SWAT Challenge are designed to test the tactical skills and physical abilities of law enforcement officers in simulated real-world scenarios. These challenges can include hostage rescue, marksmanship, vehicle takedowns and other high-stress situations that require quick thinking, coordination and teamwork.
Participating in the UAE SWAT Challenge requires extensive training and preparation, and teams must meet specific criteria and standards to be eligible to compete. The event is also an opportunity for law enforcement agencies to showcase their commitment to professionalism, innovation and excellence in law enforcement.
The Dubai Police women’s SWAT Team’s competed against 54 national and international male-only SWAT and Special Forces teams. The team’s performance in each event of the challenge is noteworthy. They ranked 12th out of 55 teams in the Hostage Rescue event, 10th out of 55 teams in the Assault Event, 6th out of 55 teams in the Officer Rescue event, 21st out of 55 teams in the Tower Assault event, and 32nd out of 55 teams in the Obstacle Course event. Their performance showcases the commitment, dedication and drive that exists among women to participate and function within the tactical world.
Overall, the Dubai Police women’s SWAT Team’s performance in the UAE SWAT Challenge 2023 is a testament to their hard work, perseverance and skill. It sets a great example for women who aspire to pursue careers in tactical fields and challenges the gender stereotypes that often dominate such fields.
About the author
Johan W. Wessels has 33 years of experience in law enforcement of which 30 years are within SWAT Training and SWAT Team Development. He has served as the chief instructor for the Dubai Police SWAT Team since 2004.