When we spent a day with the Dubai Police supercars
A 360 time-lapse: See what happened on our BMW i8 ride-along from Burj Khalifa to Burj Al Arab.Meryl D'Souza October 16, 2016
A couple of weeks ago, we went live on our Facebook page to announce that for the first time ever someone without a Dubai Police badge would go on a ride-along with the Dubai Police in one of their famed supercars. That someone was us.
Not only were we the first non-Dubai Police people to take a ride in the green and white supercars, but being the first journalists to do so, we filmed the whole thing in 360 degrees.
In the UAE these cars have celebrity status and we’ll admit we were equal parts nervous and excited. After all, normally getting into a police car means you've done something wrong. But First Lieutenant Obaid Bin Abed and his team, Second Lieutenant Maitha Obaid and Lieutenant Khalid Khalifa Alhelali, were patient with us when we met at the Armani Hotel. They had brought along their BMW i8, Ferrari FF and Nissan GT-R.
One thing you may not have known is that the Dubai Police supercars you see on the streets – the Bugattis, McLarens and the like – are all part of the Dubai Tourist Police Patrol Section, not the regular patrol squad.
Curious about the segregation, we opened our ride-along interview with First Lieutenant Obaid Bin Abed – from Downtown's Armani Hotel to the Burj Al Arab and back – enquiring about the special unit.
What does the Dubai Tourist Police do?
We are part of the CID, but we only deal in tourism cases. In case a tourist loses his or her phone or wallet, or any other tourist-related problem, that’s where we come in.
And the supercars then?
They belong to the Tourist Police. We have another fleet of cars for the patrol team.
Do you use these cars for high-speed chases and things like that?
No, these aren’t meant for that. The Dubai Tourist Police cars are only to be driven in tourist hot spots. We don’t use them for high speed chases or traffic issues.
When did the force start importing these supercars?
We started in March 2013. Our Lieutenant General Khamis Matar Al-Muzainah got the ball rolling. The first car we brought in was the Lamborghini Aventador. A week after the first car we brought in five more: a Bentley GT Continental, a Ford Mustang Roush, a Mercedes SLS 63 AMG, a Ferrari and one more.
How do you decide which supercars to bring in?
We have a department to choose the cars, but our Lieutenant General takes the final call.
How often do you import supercars?
It depends on the cars launched so it’s very random. Sometimes we bring four cars a month.
Which one is your favourite?
Maybe the Mercedes SLS, but I like this i8 more now.
Which are the cheapest and most expensive cars in the fleet?
The most expensive would be the Aston Martin One 77. That costs about AED 11 million. The cheapest would probably be the Jeep Sahara. That’s the one we use only for a desert safari.
Do you modify these cars much?
No, not really. We have the GPS and things like that but nothing more. We do however have a Lexus RC F that we’ve modified with 12 cameras around it. So if there are cars around us that create any kind of problems, we’ll know.
What kind of reactions do you get when you’re in one of these supercars?
Mostly, people ask about the cars and want to take photos and selfies. This one time, a man came with his 11-year-old son to take a picture and said to him, “Look son, a Ferrari.” The son corrected his father and told him the car was a McLaren. The father quickly went away.
Sometimes people ask for rides, but we’re not allowed to do that. We let them have a look in during motor shows.
Are reactions ever distracting while driving?
Not for us, but this one time a car in front of us got a little distracted, forgot to hit the brakes and hit the car in front of it.
How often do you get to drive these cars?
I drive one everyday. We’re supposed to be on call 24 hours a day, but usually, we drive around the afternoon until midnight.
And where do you like to take these rides?
The tourist spots, so that would be around Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, JBR and The Palm. The team keeps moving and we alternate between destinations. So if one car goes from Jumeirah to Dubai Mall, one would go the other way.
Where do you keep all these cars?
All the cars are kept at the CID headquarters in Al Qusais.
What is the fastest a police officer has clocked on a supercar?
We aren’t allowed to break any speed limits. We drive responsibly. Every officer has to undergo special training to learn how to control these cars. We do test drives at the Dubai Autodrome.
Are officers rewarded with a supercar every once in a while?
Images: Jamie Baker