The Effects of Implementing Specialised Strategy on Abu Dhabi Police Performance

 

 

 

 

 

The Effects of Implementing Specialised Strategy on Abu Dhabi Police Performance

 

 

 

Chapter 1: Introduction

Many organisations are facing revolutionary changes as brought about by globalisation. The security sector seems to be the most affected by the changing face of globalisation, as it brings new challenges which were not previously experienced. These changes have necessitated the police departments across the world to establish strategic measures aimed at increasing their effectiveness in managing the changes brought about by globalisation and advancements in technology. United Arabs Emirates (UAE) is one of the developing countries, which has experienced significant dynamics over the past decade, as it has been characterised by high influx of global investors, many visitors from across the world, and the changing face of technology especially in its capital city, Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi Police (ADP) department is the police force that is responsible for maintaining security and enforcing law and order within the Abu Dhabi City and the surroundings. Over the recent years, the ADP department has adopted specialised training strategy for its officers in its bid to revamp their effectiveness in their work. This research study explores the impact of the specialised police training strategy in ADP on their performance.

1.1 Background of the Study

People in organisations are invaluable assets that play a central role in the implementation of organisational strategies so as to achieve performance goals and objectives. Strategy development and implementation are the most critical success factors in both public and private institutions. The concept of strategic management has thus become an important management tool, as it entails the process of establishing a strategic direction for organisations (Freedman, 2015). Strategic management has been identified by researchers as one of the modern day approaches towards actualisation of organisational goals and visions (Grunig & Kuhn, 2015). Among the core function of human resources in any organisation is to select, recruit, develop, and motivate human resources in order to create a favourable environment for the achievement of the organisational goals. Training programs have become critical tools that most organisations have been using to achieve competitive advantage, since their employees are equipped with knowledge and skills that foster their effectiveness in their job (Hill et al., 2016). However, it is important that an effective training needs analysis (TNA) be conducted in order to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities gaps in the workforce against the expected levels in order to design more informed training programs that are relevant and useful to the organisation towards its achievement of goals and objectives (Lynch, 2015). Nonetheless, researchers agree that, for any successful human resource development strategy, all the organisational stakeholders must be in support of the strategy in order to enhance a more coordinated approach towards skills development among the staff members in the organisation (Langley & Tsoukas, 2016; Buller & McEvoy, 2012; Jones, & Hill, 2013).

The public sector in most countries has often been associated with systemic challenges that often affect the effectiveness of service delivery to the public. One of the sectors that researchers point out to be faced with the challenge of bureaucracy and unstable performance is the security sector, with the police force allegedly being among the least effective department in most developing countries (Islam, 2016). Considering that good security and trusted police force promotes investor confidence and improvement of security, most developing countries have closely been working toward revamping their police force. To respond to the evolving social and economic expectations and ideals as a result of globalisation, Al Darmaki (2015) points out the importance of performance management in the police service in order to enable them to tackle new challenges. In most cases, researchers point out that performance management is accompanied by the relevant training programs to enable staff members to revamp their skills and abilities, which in return enables them to achieve the set goals and objectives (Johnson, Whittington, Scholes, Angwin, & Regner, 2014). As a result, staff training is an important component of performance management, as the managers and staff members work together towards the realisation of the established goals and objectives for each employee. Although the public sectors across the world have been known to exercise high degree of bureaucracy, recent research shows that most governments are now realising the importance of the public service in the development of any country, and hence efforts to streamline and foster performance have been put in place (Coulter, 2012; Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2016).

UAE is one of the emerging economies in the Gulf Region, whose role in the global economy has been significant over the recent years, as reflected in the way more and more foreign investors have entered into the country (Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, 2016). The United Arabs Emirates has over the last decade adopted a more liberalised economic approach, and this has made more foreign companies to venture into the country. As a result, unlike in the traditional set up in the country where diversity was mainly associated with its eight emirates, UAE has experienced significant cultural diversity from the global communities, alongside increased flow of technology into the country. Due to these changes, the police service has been facing unique challenges that were not evident before the millennium when the economy of UAE was opened to the world. In order to be in a position to ensure security and safety of the public, the police service in UAE had to be revamped through a number of strategies in order to ensure that it performs its duties diligently and more effectively. This restructuring in the police service in the country was necessary because security and law enforcement are closely related to economic, social, and political development.

Police forces in the UAE as well as across the world have been ranked based on a number of key performance indicators (KPIs), which are often used in evaluating the effectiveness of the police force in a particular region. These indicators include the number of reported crimes, complaints against the police force, and their response rate in cases of crimes (Barton, Ramahi & Tansley, 2016). While researchers and experts in the security sector point out the importance of collaborative approach towards security between the members of the public and the police (Al Darmaki, 2015), this collaboration has often been faced by systemic flaws, especially in the developing countries like UAE. Given the way the services of the police have become increasingly critical in the dynamic environment characterised by globalisation which brings with itself new set of challenges, each police service in different regions are faced by different challenges and opportunities. With this in mind, police services in diverse geographic areas have adopted unique strategies aimed at enhancing their service delivery.

Nonetheless, generalising the performance of a police force in a country has often been criticised, since the notion that ‘one-size-fits-all’ seems to ignore that police service represents a particular geographic area with an independent leadership (Barton et al., 2016). This implies that, measuring the performance of a police force based on their geographic area of service has become a popular ideology over the recent years. Abu Dhabi Police (ADP) is one of the police force departments whose performance over the recent years can be attributed to its strategic management initiatives. ADP is a typical example of how the police service has adopted new strategies aimed at fostering their effectiveness in service delivery to the public. Being the capital city of UAE, Abu Dhabi is not only an economic city, but also administrative one since the president, prime minister, and all key government agencies and federal organisations are based there. As such, ultimate security is necessary, due to the sensitive nature of the services offered in the city.

Under the command of His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif, the ADP is the main law enforcement group. With its vision being “to help ensure that Abu Dhabi remains one of the safest societies in the world, by providing high quality policing services to those who live, work, and visit the Emirate” (Abu Dhabi Police, 2018B); a number of strategies have been put in place to help the agency achieve this vision. Among these strategies include the use of avant-garde technology, robotic policing, automated drone ambulances, and integration of the members of the public in service provision. However, Grunig & Kuhn (2015) argues that capital intensive strategies must also be accompanied by related human resources plan, which would help to actualise the strategy. The Acting Commander-in-Chief of the ADP, Major General Maktoum Al Shareef, reported that adoption of specialised training as the ultimate strategy towards achieving the strategic vision of the ADP agency (Abu Dhabi Police, 2018A). Joint coordination between the police departments has also been given a key priority in order to foster efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.

1.2 Overview of the Abu Dhabi Police

Abu Dhabi Police is the fundamental law enforcing agency in the United Arabs Emirates, working within Abu Dhabi region. The federal government of United Arabs Emirates has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, and hence the ADP is critical security agency for the survival and well being of the government. The federal system of governance in UAE comprises of the president, prime minister, supreme council, crown prince, federal national council, and the council of ministers (also called the cabinet). Enjoying a high degree of political stability, the continued influx of non-nationals in the country has largely impacted on the dynamics in the country’s major cities. The UAE comprises of seven emirates, which reside in the south-eastern of the Arabian Peninsula, each emirate has its unique traditions, which once reinforced by the increasing flow of non-nationals have made the cultural diversity in the country to intensify. Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate, and the most complex in terms of cultural diversity and has the largest economic system. This is because it is does not only cover the largest area (comprising of 87% of the total UAE geographical area), but also accounts for over 90% of the total oil production in the country. By 2016, the population in Abu Dhabi was about 3 million, where nationals comprised of about 17% (551,535 people) while no-locals comprised of 83% (Abu Dhabi Digital Government, 2016). This reflects the high rate of foreigners into the region in pursuit of business and other economic connections.

Traditionally, the emirates usually maintain hereditary rulers which comprises of the supreme council of rulers, and it is always headed by the president. As per the constitution, all laws must be approved by the Supreme Council, and the implementation overseen by the Federal National Council, headed by the prime minister selected by the president. The minister in charge of security and interior coordination of government is therefore responsible for the law enforcement and maintaining of security in the country. Currently, His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan commands the Abu Dhabi Police department, since he is not only the minister of interior, but also the deputy prime minister. The ADP is not only the primary law enforcement agency, but also responsible for ensuring public safety. Since Abu Dhabi hosts key senior government offices including that of the presidency among others, the ADP department plays a central role in ensuring the security for sensitive institutions in the country.

The ADP department was formally established in the year 1957, although by then it was under the rule of Sheikh Shakbut. Starting with a police force of 80 officers, by 1959 it had grown to 150. In 1971, the interior ministry was established by His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed and the police force which had close to 500 officers grew to about 5000 police officers by the year 2000. By the year 2015, the ADP department had 12,500 frontline officers. In total, there are about 36,000 armed forces staff members in Abu Dhabi, including the civil defence, fire response team, and border security. This implies that, the police force in Abu Dhabi has grown significantly over the recent years, as the government has been keen in ensuring that the ministry of interior satisfactorily performs its roles effectively, despite the dynamics experienced in the country’s economic and social realms. The General directorate of Abu Dhabi works in coordination of all the entities within the police department to ensure that the mission of enhancing public safety alongside enforcement of law and order is achieved. The vision of the ADP departments is:

“To help ensure that Abu Dhabi remains one of the safest societies in the world, by providing high quality policing services to those who live, work and visit the Emirate” (Abu Dhabi Police, 2018B).

Moreover, the mission of the organisations is:

To bring about a safer society, to maintain stability, to reduce crime and contribute to the delivery of justice in a way which secures and maintains public confidence” (Abu Dhabi Police, 2018B).

In order to enable the organization to achieve its vision and mission statements, the ADP has established a set of values that foster positive behaviours towards its success. These values include, integrity at the highest levels all the time, delivering of  a fair and courteous service to the community, recognition and valuing of individual and corporate achievements, via promoting teamwork, and encouragement of innovations, effective communication with the staff members and other stakeholders, and pursuit of excellence in everything they do (Abu Dhabi Police, 2018B). The ADP department prioritises the achievement of its mission and vision through a set of strategic goals which include: controlling of crime, fostering community confidence and participation in security matters, ensuring security of the emirate, and establishing a well organised, effective, and efficient policing system. Considering that the confidence that the public has on the police force is one of the key indicators of the effectiveness of a police force (Al Darmaki, 2015); ADP has been keen towards integrating the communities on its central functions.

The organisational structure of the ADP comprises of the commander-in-chief, general director of police, deputy commander general, the general directorate for security affairs and ports, the general directorate for central operations, central directorate for policing operations, the general directorate for guards and establishments protection, the general directorate for human resources, and the general directorate for finance serves (as shown in figure 1.1 below). As shown in the organisational structure, the directorate for security affairs and ports is responsible for forensic evidence and investigations, crime scenes, ports security, and security search services, whereas the directorate for central operations is responsible for in information and technology systems, drivers and vehicle licencing, public safety, and air operations. On the other hand, the directorate for policing operations is responsible for capital police systems, all in all police operations, western region, criminal investigations, traffic and patrols, community policing, and social support services. Guards and establishment protection, on the other hand, is responsible for VIP security, diplomatic missions, and special tasks, while the human resources directorate is responsible for selection, recruitment, training, and promotions of the police force. Lastly, finance directorate mainly deals with financial affairs in the police department, and hence works closely with the ministry of planning and finance.

 

 

 

Figure 1.1 – Organisational Structure of the ADP Department

Source: (Abu Dhabi Police, 2018C).

With the changes being experienced in Abu Dhabi over the recent years, the structure of the ADP department has been streamlined with the changes by decentralising services in various sub-departments. In collaboration with the strategic management and performance improvement department in the ADP, the commander general has introduced several changes in the police force over the recent years. These include regular and specialised police training and the adoption of modern technology aimed at revamping efficiency and effectiveness in law enforcement and public safety. According to a recent report by Barton et al. (2016), the ADP has experienced significant changes over the last five years, with most of these changes being associated with specialised staff training in various departments aimed at improving their skills and knowledge in their work.

In order to enable its achievement of its strategic vision and mission, ADP has established a set of objective strategies and priorities (as shown in table 1 below). These objectives include controlling of crime, making most of the human resources, increasing community confidence, maintaining safety and security of Abu Dhabi, making roads safer, and providing all policing operations with functional support.

Table 1 – Strategic objectives and priorities of the ADP

Objective strategy Priorities
 

Controlling Crime

• Reduce the Overall Crime Rate

• Reduce the Serious Crime Rate

Making the most of our human resources through the implementation of the best international practices. • Ensure Abu Dhabi Police has an appropriately skilled and experienced workforce

• Reduce accidents and ensure Abu Dhabi Police complies with health and safety regulations

• Maximise human resources available for front line, service delivery policing activities

 

Increasing community confidence in Police & Public Safety Services.

• Achieving public satisfaction with Abu Dhabi Police

• Achieving stakeholder satisfaction with Abu Dhabi Police

Maintaining the safety and security of Abu Dhabi • Ensuring that Abu Dhabi continues to be seen as a safe place to live, work and visit

• Minimising the number of unplanned public safety incidents

• Ensuring Abu Dhabi Police is prepared for any potential serious incident

Making the roads safer • Reducing the number and impact of road traffic collisions

• Ensuring that road users understand their role in making roads safer

• Working with key partners to identify and implement ways of making roads safer

Providing all Policing operations with functional support • Information Technology

• Finance

• Asset Management

• Privatisation

• Estate management

• Forensic Services

 

In order to achieve the goal in each of the strategic objectives and priorities, the ADP has established a new concept referred to as ‘specialised strategic management’. A number of key performance indicators (KPIs) have been established. For example, for the strategic objective, ‘making the roads safer’, the percentage of deaths for each 100,000 persons of the population in traffic accidents over a span of time would determine the effectiveness of the strategy. This means that, after the implementation of the specialised strategy, comparison between the previous year(s) and the current year as well as future years would be made to determine whether strategy had any positive effect. In this study, therefore, much of the focus would mainly be determining performance based on the actualisation of the ADP’s objectives in various areas. Since ADP has such a wide scope of operations, two key objectives were identified, which include making the roads safer and controlling crime. Table 2 below shows the two objectives and the specialised strategies that ADP has adopted.

Table 2 – ADP Objectives and Specialised Strategies Adopted

Objective Specialised Strategy
Making the roads safer Specialized strategy for Traffic Safety
Controlling Crime Specialized strategy for Anti-Drug

 

1.3 Problem Statement

Though reports have highlighted the key strategies that ADP has put in place in its bid to achieve its vision, very little research has been conducted to find out how the implementation of specialised strategy in the agency has impacted on its performance. Given the way the police service plays a central role in enhancing livelihood in the regions they are deployed, Islam (2016) argues that it is very important for any strategy that is adopted by the police to be evaluated in terms of its impact on their performance. Researchers also agree that security systems and economic development are inter-related, and hence despite the recent economic development in UAE, there is no recent research that has been conducted to identify the impact of the specialised strategies adopted by the ADP in towards the achievement of their objectives. Studying on the relationship between specialised police strategic management, which has been recently adopted in ADP department, and performance of ADP would shed more information on whether the revamped security system in the country has been responsible for the economic developments in the country.

Considering that UAE has largely been benchmarking its security systems from developed countries like the United Kingdom and other Western countries where empirical researches have often been conducted to evaluate the relationship between the strategies adopted and the outcomes, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge there is no empirical research that links specialised strategy in the ADP and performance. As such, there is need to conduct an up-to-date empirical research aimed at evaluating how the implementation of the specialised strategic management approach in ADP affects its performance, in line with its strategic vision. This study, therefore, seeks to establish the effect of implementing specialised strategy on Abu Dhabi police performances, in the bid to bridge the research gap on how the adoption of the specialised training has impacted on the performance of the police force in the region.

1.4 Research Aim and Objectives

The aim of this study is to determine the effect of the implementation of specialised strategy in the ADP on the performance of the agency in line with its vision. This includes evaluating the agency’s specialised strategy in terms of value delivery, strategic alignment with its vision, and reduction in crime. Based on this aim, the following research objectives are established to guide the researcher in this study:

  1. To identify the scope of the specialised strategy in the ADP
  2. To identify the various key performance indicators in the ADP based on its vision and objectives
  3. To determine how the specialised strategy in the ADP service impacts on the various key performance indicators
  4. To provide a research-based evaluation and recommendations whenever possible on the role played by strategic management in the performance of the police force based on the case of ADP

1.5 Research Questions

The overarching research question in this study is: “How does specialised police training impact on the performance of ADP?” Based on this research question, the following sub-questions were formulated to guide the researcher in establishing a more focused research in this study:

  1. How has been the specialised training strategy implemented in ADP?
  2. What are the current performance indicators that are established in the ADP?
  3. What kind of effect has the specialised training strategy had on the performance of ADP based on the established performance indicators?

1.6 Significance of the Study

Conducting this study is therefore expected to be significant to various stakeholders in the ADP agency. There are two areas that this study is expected to be quite significant, and these include in academic realms, and practical spheres.

Academic and Theoretical Realms

With the continued academic knowledge gap on understanding the training need analysis in the public sector in the Gulf Region, this study is expected to play a critical role in providing academic insight. First, this study is expected to provide a critical evaluation of the implementation of the specialised strategy in the ADP, and hence the findings would be useful to the policy makers in the agency. The research is therefore expected to have direct impact on the effectiveness of the operations in the ADP since the findings will provide a feedback on whether the specialised training adopted by the ADP has contributed towards achievement of its vision or not be evaluating the key performance indicators in the agency. To the best knowledge of the researcher, this is the first study of this kind in the Arab World, and hence the findings are expected to be quite impactful in establishing the specific management issues that face the region. More so, since UAE is a developing country, the findings obtained are expected to create a springboard for other researches in the region with regard to strategic management practices in the security systems in the countries within the region. With the adoption of both qualitative and quantitative research methods in this study, new findings on the specific strategic management practices in the UAE’s police force were expected, and hence this study contributed largely towards enrichment of management research and theories in the Arab world.

 

 

Practical Contributions on Policy Development

The findings will also be useful to other police services, not only in the country, but also across the region. Specifically, determination of whether the implementation of specialised training strategy in the ADP has positively contributed towards its performance is expected to provide a benchmark for other police agencies in the region in order to foster their performance as well. As such, the findings in this study are expected to not only be useful to the ADP, but also to the entire Gulf region as well.

1.7 Rationale of the Study

Performance in the public sector has also attracted massive debates, since the use public resources is expected to provide respective services to the public. The police department has often been pointed out as among the most critical security agency, whose performance must be felt by the people (Al Darmaki, 2015). More importantly, the ADP has been pointed out as one of the most critical government agencies in Abu Dhabi, as it is often perceived as the legitimate community partner. With its vision being to ensure safety and enhance security to the people through quality policing, it is important that its strategies are evaluated based on its performance in line with this vision. By establishing whether specialised police training has any effect on the performance in the police force in Abu Dhabi, it is expected that the findings will be useful to the policy makers on security matters in the country. Moreover, the findings obtained in this study, will not only useful to Abu Dhabi or other police departments in Abu Dhabi, but also all other developing countries within and outside the Gulf Region. Considering the way security matters are becoming increasingly important in the success of every country, the results that would be obtained in this study would be critically useful for other police departments in other developing countries.

1.8 Research Scope

The current research study mainly covers the police department of Abu Dhabi, the ADP with regard to its specialised strategy aimed at achieving its missions and vision. The ADP’s traffic wing and criminal investigation department will be the key focus departments in the ADP force. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected in this study, in which the target participants were individuals in leadership positions as well as service men and women in the ADP department. For the administrative positions, superintendents, inspectors, commandants, and commissioners were the key focus in which interviews would be conducted with them to collect qualitative data. On the other hand, servicemen and women a sample of about 100 police was selected in which a survey was conducted on them, and hence quantitative data was collected in the survey. Focusing on data collection in individuals in the administrative positions as well as those in the lower ranks (servicemen and women) facilitated a comprehensive approach in data collection, and this facilitated a thorough coverage on the research questions.

During the interviews, much of the focus was given on how specialised strategies have been implemented in ADP, the circumstances that led to its establishment, and the subsequent outcomes. The key performance indicators in the ADP department would also be focused in the interview with the leaders in the police department based on the achievement of the key strategic objectives set prior to the implementation of the strategic management practices. On the other hand, surveys are intended at evaluating the perception of the specialised training in the police force on the individual competencies and effectiveness in handling security and law enforcement errands in their lines of duty. The aspect of performance among the policemen and women with regard to their undertaking of specialised training was also focused during the interviews. As a result, the researcher was able to collect sufficient, relevant and reliable data to answer the research questions.

1.9 Definitions

Strategy: Freedman (2015) defines strategy as “being about maintaining a balance between ends, ways, and means; about identifying objectives, and about the resources and methods available for meeting such objectives” (p. ix).

Strategic management: According to Hill, Schilling & Jones (2016), strategic management involves identification of a strategic fit between the internal part of an organisation with its external dynamics in order to achieve an optimised balance between the external environment and the internal processes.

Performance management: Rao (2016) defined performance management as “doing all that is required to continuously improve performance of every employee in relation to his/her role, dyad, team, and the entire organisation in the context of the short and long-term goals of the organisation” (p. 1).

Key performance indicators (KPIs): KPIs are set of parameters used to measure a particular phenomenon based on the set of established standards and practices (Rao, 2016).

Specialised training strategy: Islam (2016) considers specialised training in the police force as the offering specific tactics and skill training in the police resources to foster competence in dealing with particular crimes.

Training needs analysis: Training needs analysis (TNA) is the establishment of the criteria to measure the knowledge, skills, and abilities gaps in an organisation based on the expected levels (Cekada, 2010).

1.10 Structure of the Dissertation

This dissertation is structured into six main chapters. The first chapter, the introduction, explores the background information of the study, research problem, research aim and objectives, research questions, research rationale and significance, scope of the research, and definition of key terms.

In the second chapter, literature review, a critical review of past studies and empirical findings are explored in order to give the current research a better perspective. Among the key issues explored in the literature review include strategic management practices, training need analysis models, specialised training in the police force, key performance indicators, and empirical research on the relationship between specialised training in the police force and performance.

Further, in chapter three, research methodology, the research philosophies, approaches, and procedures adopted in collecting and analysing data in this study are presented. Essentially, this chapter explores the main research methods that were undertaken on order to answer the research questions and achieve the research objectives in this study.

The fourth chapter presents the research findings obtained in this study following the data collection procedures outlined in chapter three. The process of data collection and presentation is guided by the research questions and objectives.

In the fifth chapter, discussion, the research findings presented in chapter four are discussed in the light of the literature review. A critical analysis approach is adopted in order to evaluate the extent at which the findings corroborate with prior findings on the research topic.

In the last chapter, conclusion and recommendations, the research process and findings are summarised and the implications of the results obtained in this study presented. Moreover, recommendations to the ADP based on the research findings obtained are presented. In addition, suggestions for future research based on the shortcomings of the current research are also presented before the dissertation concludes.

1.11 Chapter Summary

This chapter has introduced the research context where the relevant background information has been provided. Moreover, the research problem was identified, which defines the research aim, objectives, and questions that this study seeks to answer. Moreover, the rational, significance, and scope of the research study were also presented in this chapter. In addition, key terms were defined, and the structure of the current dissertation was presented in this chapter. In the next chapter, a critical review of literature guided by the research questions and objectives is conducted in order to identify research gaps that this study would address.