UAE police launches new apps for child safety
Abu Dhabi, March 30, 2014
The UAE Ministry of Interior’s child protection center has launched its new 'Hemayati' Application for IPhones as part of its efforts to boost child safety.
The Hemayati Apps in the IOS A App Store for IPhone is aimed at enhancing child safety and to provide parents and caregivers with real-time communication with children at all times.
It provides an ingenious SOS feature built-in, enabling children to send distress calls to their parents when they feel threatened, and then go on to notify the Operations Room about the SOS notification with a single click.
The apps also enables the police to keep in constant contact with the families and their children in order to deal with the "Smart SOS" as notifications of the highest priority. It enables the police to respond to emergencies within four minutes.
This step embodies the instructions of the higher leadership, and falls in line with the Child Protection Center's efforts to make use of smart technology to enhance public confidence, and achieve the aspirations of making the UAE “a civilization hub and a role model in the region for child protection and security”.
Hemayati Apps is wake-up call for parents to ensure their children’s safety, said a senior official.
The App allows parents to keep track of their children’s whereabouts or know that they didn’t reach school or any other public destination on time. It sends an automatic alert to the father and the mother should their child fail to reach a specific destination on time.
The father can set his child’s arrival time at school, between 7:30 am and 7:45 am. If the child does not reach school on time or fails to appear, the application sends an alert to the parents in order to enable them to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of their child.
Family members can communicate with each other by clicking on the picture of one of the family members on the map; the name and the last known whereabouts of the latter appear. This is only accessible to family members through a chat called “special group,” .
Making this application available for free on Apple Store follows the center’s previous success in launching the application on Google Play for smartphones operating via Android System. It also personifies the Ministry of Interior's efforts of developing smart interactive services via mobile phones.
"The Ministry of Interior is keen to transform the UAE's national agenda for the next seven years into projects and initiatives related to the security and police fields with a view to make the UAE one of the safest places in the world by achieving a total sense of security and by reducing the response time for emergency calls to just four minutes," said Major General Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, the secretary general of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Child Protection.
"The Hemayati Application was activated as a response to parents' requests wishing to know the whereabouts of their children. It also reflects the Ministry of Interior's keenness through its multiple initiatives, to provide protection for children from all kind of risks, especially while they are in contact with the cyber world," he added.
Lt Col Faisal Mohammed Al Shammari, the director of the MoI’s Child Protection Center and chairman of the technical subcommittee, said the application personifies the ministry's efforts to improve the smart interactive procedures and services that are available via mobile phones.
"Activating the Hemayati system and the ongoing development also constitutes a response to parents’ requests wishing to know the whereabouts of their children It also creates a safety net to improve the safety of a very important category in society; children," he added.
He pointed out that the service is limited to families with children. "Parents must not hesitate to get the Hemayati Apps and begin receiving its services in order to take advantage of its various features to enhance security and safety in society, and prevent any potential risks that children may face while they are unattended in public places," stated Lt Col Al Shammari.
He also asked parents to emphasize the application’s importance to their children and introduce them to its benefits that can protect them.
He said the successful experimental link of the apps to the Central Operations Room, in co-operation of the Operations Department at the General Directorate of Central Operations at Abu Dhabi Police, will soon be followed with all Police Operations Rooms in the future to enhance children's safety and provide them with necessary protection.
Lt Col Nasser Al Maskari, the head of the Operations Department, said the various police operations rooms are working round the clock to serve citizens and residents, in line with the Abu Dhabi Police GHQ’s initiative to improve response time and measure efficiency.
The application helps to save time and effort needed to reach the locations that parents send in response to their children’s SOS notifications, should they feel that they are in a dangerous situation, he stated.
"The application is exceptional for its safety features, as it is used privately. It helps parents by providing sufficient information about their children's whereabouts and notifies them if they are in any dangerous situations. It also helps the competent authorities by reducing the time needed to provide assistance in such situations,” he added.
Capt Majid Hashim Al Hashimi, the information security officer, said the Apps is distinguished for its safety specifications and the privacy features for its users.
He noted that the application messaging services had been secured to protect family privacy. This security is guaranteed by the registration mechanism in the app that requires the person’s ID to access the service, and authorizes them to access by entering a personal password.
Adding further, he said: “Data from users’ Emirates Identity Cards is used for registration. The identity of the person activating the application is confirmed, and allows the application to be activated only by parents.
"To do so, one must enter the ID number to be sure that the person is authorized to use the application. The last three digits of their phone number are sent to be confirmed and then they receive a PIN code to be used to complete the registration process. The wife and children can register online through the main application menu. The system grants the husband and wife the option to hide their whereabouts," explained Capt Al Hashmi.