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Security

The Royal Oman Police (ROP)

The Royal Oman Police (ROP) plays a vital role in serving the public and protecting the nation. The close relationship between the police and the public is reflected in the trust and co-operation that exists between the two sides.

Modernisation of facilities and services

The ROP's network of modern installations operates across the country, ensuring the public is provided with the best and most efficient security services. Existing installations are constantly being upgraded, while new buildings and facilities are currently under construction.

A new command headquarters called "The Oil and Gas Installations Command" has been set up to protect the Sultanate's valuable oil and gas installations. The Police Coastguard Command has been equipped with new, highly advanced fast patrol boats, while the older boats currently in use have been modernised and fitted with new engines. To keep all vessels in tip top condition the engineering and maintenance workshop has been expanded and improved.

A Sea Rescue Group has been established to help prevent drowning accidents, respond to SOS calls, improve the monitoring of Oman's coastline and prevent illegal immigration and smuggling.

The Police Aviation Directorate has been provided with new premises and a helicopter fire-fighting service has been introduced for use in areas that are relatively inaccessible to ordinary fire engines. The Sultanate is one of the first countries in the region to set up this service and several pilots have now been trained to man it.
 The Police Aviation Directorate is due to receive a number of high-tech helicopters with advanced equipment for use in the Flying Ambulance service or for fire-fighting and rescue missions, or with thermal imaging cameras which will provide monitoring and support services for the ROP's other departments. At the end of 2005 several Agusta Westland A109 Power helicopters were commissioned.

Training

The ROP is attracting increasing numbers of young Omani men and women into its ranks and regards their training as one of its main priorities.

The Sultan Qaboos Academy for Police Sciences (SQAPS), established in Nizwa in 1980 (as the ROP Academy Nizwa), provides basic training for police personnel, as well as diploma courses in police sciences for university graduates or those with equivalent qualifications. It also trains candidates for senior positions in the ROP.

The Police College, which is within the SQAPS complex, was established in 2000 and trains ROP officers and awards diplomas and degrees in law and police sciences.

An event unprecedented in the Sultanate's history was the inauguration of the Police Women's Band during the 35th National Day celebrations in 2005, when 60 female musicians entertained with a selection of military tunes. The women's band is expected to play an important part in future national events.

Advanced services in a wide range of fields

The ROP provides a range of prompt, efficient world-class services. The Directorate-General of Civil Status registers the births, marriages, divorces and deaths of Omani nationals, as well as the births and deaths of expatriate residents in the Sultanate, in addition to their marriages and divorces if one of the parties to the marriage or divorce is an Omani. Omani nationals are also issued with "smart" multipurpose ID cards, which are both flexible and secure and - among other things - show the holder's driving licence details.

In future it will be possible to use them as Majlis A'Shura voter registration cards. Residence cards are also issued to resident expatriates working in the Sultanate, and their dependants. The labour card and the residence card have now been combined.

Supporting Tourism

The regulations implementing the Foreign Residents' Law have been amended to encourage tourism in the Sultanate and the procedures for the issue of transit visas have been relaxed. Tourist companies can sponsor foreign tourists from certain countries and the conditions governing these tourist visas have been amended by agreement between the ROP and the Ministry of Tourism. New facilities for diplomats wishing to visit the Sultanate are now also in place under reciprocal arrangements.

Border entry posts have been streamlined and equipped with tourist information services, and highly trained national personnel. The customs sections in the regions have been upgraded to directorate status, to facilitate the movement of goods over the frontiers and improve the operational efficiency of the Directorate-General of Customs.

A new computer system has been introduced to improve customs clearance procedures and customs clearance offices - with similar functions to those at Port Sultan Qaboos and Muscat International Airport - have been opened at overland crossing points. These moves are designed to support the national economy and come in response to the Gulf Co-operation Council Customs Union and the Greater Arab Free Trade Zone.

Thanks to its new container and motor vehicle inspection equipment, the Directorate General of Customs is now better equipped to detect and identify prohibited substances and smuggled goods. A declaration on a container security and goods inspection initiative has also been signed between the Directorate-General of Customs and its American counterpart, allowing for the inspection of goods transported by sea between Omani and American ports.

Road safety

The ROP tries its utmost to ensure the Sultanate enjoys the highest standards of road safety. Vehicles are regularly inspected, training standards for drivers have been raised and traffic rules are rigorously enforced, particularly with regard to speed limits.

Intensive awareness campaigns are regularly held for drivers and other sections of society, including school students. To this end, the police work closely with other departments and organisations, particularly the Ministry of Education and the media.

The Traffic Safety Institute was been set up to train both traffic personnel and road users. By the end of 2005, fixed and mobile radar speed detectors had been installed in all the governorates and regions in a further attempt to help reduce traffic accidents.

Oman is not only concerned with road safety within its own borders; the country submitted a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly entitled "Road safety must not be left to chance", to help promote international co-operation on the prevention of traffic accidents, which was adopted by the UN in 2004.

The March 2006, the ROP won first prize in an international contest, in which 36 countries participated and organised by the United Nations, at the 1st Global Road Safety Film Festival in Geneva, for a film entitled "Pain and Hope2", a documentary highlighting the suffering of families who lose relatives in road accidents. The film stored in the UN library.

Ambulance and Civil Defence services

The ROP provides a Highway Emergency Ambulance Service for victims of road and other accidents. The Ambulance Unit, which has a fleet of modern ambulances with modern high - tech medical equipment, covers the Governorate of Muscat up to Batinah Region, as well as the main road from the wilayat of Barka to Khatmat Malahah on the UAE border. Under current plans, the service will be expanded to cover the entire country.

The Ambulance Service is linked to an advanced telecommunications system directed through the ROP's telecommunications centre. The system co-ordinates the movement of ambulances to ensure that they reach the scene of an accident in the shortest possible time.

With regard to the protection of buildings, installations and property, the Directorate-General of Civil Defence has been supplied with state-of-the-art civil defence and fire-fighting equipment.
This year saw the opening of several new civil defence posts and work on similar units is ongoing.

The ROP strives to ensure that the best police services are available to the Omani public across the country. The Special Task Force is supplied with cutting edge equipment to enable them to carry out their duties with maximum efficiency. In addition to its fleet of helicopters, the ROP also uses horses and Omani thoroughbred camels to reach some of the more inaccessible areas.

Every effort is made to strengthen links between the ROP and the general population. Members of the public can contact a special 24-hour drugs line by dialling 1444, either to inform the police about drugs offences or to request information. The ROP's internet website (www.rop.gov.om) is also available to provide information on various matters including visa applications and traffic violations.

The ROP takes a keen interest in the welfare of its members both past and present; by keeping in touch it is able to provide them and their families with social welfare services and health care should the need for either arise.


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