A remote-control aircraft to spy on fans at football matches is the latest crime-busting device launched by police in Dubai.
The spy copter will hover over crowds at the Etisalat Cup Final tonight between Al Jazira and Ajman at Al Wasl’s Zabeel Stadium to blow the whistle on any wannabe football hooligans.
The device is mounted with a camera, enabling officers
controlling the aircraft to see what is going on and tighten security in the grounds.
Many domestic football matches in the UAE have attendancefigures of less than 1,000.
However, the high-flying move comes after a recent act of hooliganism in the UAE when a phone battery thrown by a fan hit a referee during a match between Al Ahli and Ain last month.
The latest innovation also comes after the recent launch of Dubai Police’s big boys’ toys - a collection of supercars.
General Mohammad Eid Al Mansouri, head of the General Department of Protective Security and Emergency, launched the craft yesterday, insisting: “It is a unique idea. It will help us control and secure the stadiums.”
“A cop in the stadium wears glasses to view what is being recorded. The images are also sent to the command room.”
General Al Mansouri added: “The special cameras onboard can record everything that is happening.We are always looking to use the latest technology in our work.”
Brigadier Ahmad Khalfan, head of the Emergency Department at the force, added: “This is a bold idea - it’s the first time such a device has been used in football stadiums around the world.
“We are using the latest technology to secure the stadiums and prevent fans from rioting. We want our stadiums to have a clean image.”
Major Maher Bin Haidar, the man who created the device was also at the launch.
Emirati referee Mohammad Al Jalaf was injured during a match in April when a teenager threw a mobile phone battery at him during a match.
Later the Dubai Attorney General ordered that the case against the 16-year-old alleged attacker be dismissed when the referee waived his rights.
The best supported club in the UAE is Al Jazira, which averaged gates of just over 6,000 last season.
By Ali Shouk
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