Dubai Police’s all-women Swat team have success in their sights at UAE event
The UAE’s trailblazing first all-women Swat team is ready to put skills to the test against the world’s best at a thrilling Dubai competition next week.
Dubai Police’s formidable female task force — made up of jiu-jitsu champions, keen-eyed sharpshooters and officers chosen to protect A-list celebrities — will join more than 60 elite teams from around the world setting their sights on success at the UAE Swat Challenge 2023.
The UAE will be aiming to replicate the clean-sweep of podium places achieved by its representatives in last year’s high-octane competition.
The fourth annual event will be staged at the Dubai Police training centre in Al Rowaiyah, from February 20 to 24, with 14 squads from the UAE taking part.
Organisers are calling on members of the public to turn out in force to cheer on the highly-trained competitors.
What is UAE Swat Challenge?
The challenge is organised by the Dubai Police and is held under the patronage of Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
It first started in 2019. Different teams from Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as squads from Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and the Ministry of Interior usually take part.
The five-day event aims to promote co-operation and understanding between international Swat teams, highlighting the best practice.
There are five tests — tactical, assault, officer rescues, tower events and obstacle courses — designed to assess the tactical skills, mental focus and physical endurance of the participating teams.
And every year, before the main international challenge, teams in the Emirates compete against each other to prepare for the Swat Challenge.
“This is an opportunity to network with other law enforcement professionals from around the world,” said Maj Gen Abdullah Ali Al Ghaithi, Director of Dubai Police’s Protective Security and Emergency department.
“We can learn from each other, exchange ideas, develop new strategies and techniques that help in protecting the international community.
“During the 2022 version, 34 teams took part but this year 63 teams have registered so far.
The senior officer said he is hoping for high turnout for the week-long event.
“They can come root for the teams from their home countries. And if they love action, we promise them that,” he said.
A panel of 34 international judges will decide this year’s winners.
“Our job is to make sure that range aspects are run safely and the rules are followed,” said jury head John Gnagey, a former Swat officer from the US.
He said two of the judges are active Swat officers.
“We have done this ourselves for many years, so errors or violations are very easy to pick up.
“When it comes to shooting, the rounds hitting the targets speak for themselves as far as obstacles course, you watch how they run or if there were any safety violations.”
The overall winner will receive $70,000, with the runners-up securing $30,000 and the third-placed team earning $20,000.