Aircraft deployed to monitor traffic flow, security in Mecca

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The Directorate for Police Aviation in the Ministry of Interior in Mecca has been executing an air surveillance program to detect and report security and traffic issues in the Muslim holy city.

Saudi Gazette accompanied the officers on one of the aerial sorties. The inspection was commanded by Flight Lt. Ziyad al-Otaibi and Capt. Bandar al-Motairi.

The S92 aircraft flew at an altitude of 2,500 feet, noting any security and traffic problems, and sent instant reports to the concerned authorities. The commander of police aviation, Maj. Gen. Mohamed al-Harbi, said the directorate’s participation in Ramadan operations this year is greater than in previous years.

Harbi said 250 directorate personnel are participating in this year’s Ramadan security plan. Eight planes are currently stationed in Mecca and other aircrafts are on standby at their bases.

Harbi explained that the directorate’s duties this year included providing humanitarian aid, security operations and logistic support to government agencies.

The directorate also occasionally deals with road incidents and holds pilot trainings. Its air crew is trained to deal with incidents in the Masha’ir zone, and are tasked with monitoring all Mecca-Medina roads and the entrances to the two cities.

The readiness of landing strips around Mecca are being inspected, Harbi said, adding that a number of foreign trained pilots have joined the directorate’s ranks this year and are participating in the Ramadan plan.

He thanked Minister of Interior Prince Muhammad Bin Naif for his support.

This article was originally published on July 26, 2013 in the Saudi Gazette.