DUBAI // They are highly trained, armed and ready to keep the royal, rich and famous out of harm’s way.

The 17 female officers from the Dubai Police VIP protection unit have broken ground in an area traditionally dominated by men, and perform the same duties as their 100 male colleagues.

They often work as outriders to escort dignitaries’ motorcades, or shadow them on foot.

“Men and women at the unit have the same training, and these women have really made their presence clear,” said Lt Col Obaid bin Yaroof.

“The women are trained to ride motorcycles and at the same time be aware of their surroundings to protect the person.

“They accompany the person on foot and surround their vehicle when on the move.”

Marwa Abdel Rahman, 25, had to overcome her parents’ disapproval of her choice of career.

“I had wanted to join Dubai Police since I was in high school, but I received a scholarship to a university abroad and my parents were not convinced I should join the force, even though my mother was a police officer,” Ms Abdel Rahman said. “They were finally convinced and I am happy to serve my country, while still studying at a local university.”

Lt Col bin Yaroof said the officers often protected high-ranking officials such as female politicians and their families, who were more comfortable with female security.

“Two of the most recent missions were to accompany and guard the wives of the Malaysian prime minister and Brunei’s foreign minister,” he said.

Even though Dubai has a reputation as being safe for visitors of any social standing, the officers provide an essential service.

“We are very fortunate that the Emirates is a safe and secure country, even the Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, walks around without security,” said Lt Col bin Yaroof.

“But it is our duty to make people feel safe and provide them with security when they request it.”

Hoda Al Tahiri, 26, said the job took a great deal of time and dedication, but was worth it for the gratifying feeling at the end of the day…. see more