The robot will be linked to the Dubai Police national database of most wanted criminals.

Business Reporter Shoshana knows her way around Europe and the Middle East with a notebook and video camera. She has worked as a multi-media journalist for Channel NewsAsia, Ruptly video news agency, the UN, and most recently, with 7Days in Dubai. She speaks Arabic and English and has degrees in Middle East History and Political Science.

Dubai’s first ‘Robocop’ started duty at the Dubai Mall on May 22 and can now be seen greeting shoppers and tourists and patrolling the area.

Lieutenant Saeed Al Mazrooei from the Dubai Police Smart Services Department, who was part of the patrol, said that the robot is equipped with cutting-edge facial recognition technology, which can detect a fugitive’s facial expressions, even if they’re in disguise:

“Sometimes police officers cannot recognize [fugitives] by face, but the robot can recognize, even if he [the criminal] changes something [in his appearance].”

The facial recognition technology was developed by the Dubai police in-house and is linked-up to the Dubai Police national database.

He said the police robot(s) will eventually be responsible for 80% of police detection work and will help to reduce police presence in busy public spaces such as airports and malls.

Al Mazrooei said that when a criminal is identified, the robot will send an alert to the control room that a fugitive has been spotted.

“In each mall and each airport, we have a police station inside, so in less than five minutes we will be there. But the robot will do nothing and not sound an alarm or anything, so the wanted individual will not recognize that he was caught or seen, and won’t run away.”

“There will be more robots. In the airport, there will be more than two robots,” he said, adding that they are planned to be in place this year.

Police sources say the robot’s main function will be to allow people to live chat with police if they need to report a crime or have a question or an emergency.

“The main feature of the robot is you can contact the police and ask him anything you want if you have any problem.”

The robot was launched at GISEC security technology conference from the 2123 May in Dubai.