Maintaining security and safety is a factor of social, political and economic stability of countries and societies. It is a precondition for economic prosperity and social well-being. Experiences indicate that insecurity and instability jeopardize public safety and lead to deteriorated economic conditions and collapsed social structure. Seeking to meet these challenges by the political leadership in Qatar is evident in more than a national document.
Qatar’s permanent Constitution stipulates: “The Constitution shall guarantee security, stability and equal opportunities, and the State shall safeguard the pillars of society and guarantee security and stability.” The Social Development Pillar of the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030 also stresses the importance of security and public safety: “Development of a just and caring society based on high moral standards and social welfare.” QNV, in addressing the social structure, highlights the need to “Establish a secure and stable society operating on the principles of justice, equality and the rule of law.”
Finally, the QNV affirms that Qatar will work to “provide security and stability to the population.” This official interest is reflected in integrating a sectoral strategy for security and public safety in Qatar First National Development Strategy (NDS-1) 2011 - 2016 and then in Qatar Second National Development Strategy (NDS-2) 2018-2022.
The Security and Public Safety Sector Strategy (SPSSS) 2011-2016 had four intermediate outcomes: an integrated and effective criminal information management system, improved traffic safety and reduced risks of road accidents, a National Building Safety Strategy (NBSS), and effective disaster management preparedness.
The SPSSS also adopted seven projects to achieve these outcomes. The first result had three projects: a Unified Security System, the Najm Project aimed at rapid response to incidents, and Information Security Project. The second outcome had two projects: Traffic accidents Risk Reduction and Pedestrian Crossing. The NBSS development was based on a project to improve building specifications and reduce fire incidents. The fourth result had a single project comprised of three phases: confronting disaster preparedness, disaster response and post-disaster recovery.
The SPSSS 2011-2016 made progress in a number of sectoral outcomes. Regarding “an integrated and effective criminal information management system”, an electronic database was developed to enable data flow among Ministry of Interior (MOI) relevant departments and between MOI and the Public Prosecution, in addition to increasing data safety and confidentiality, standardizing electronic communication procedures among security departments, dispensing with paper correspondence, and reducing patrols’ average response time to accidents from 15 to 7-10 minutes.
In terms of improving traffic safety and reducing deaths and serious injuries, the number of road traffic injuries decreased from 39 per 100,000 inhabitants in the baseline 2008 to 29 in 2016. Road traffic deaths went down from 16 to 6.9 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016, thus exceeding the target of 10 deaths. Fatal road accidents per 100,000 inhabitants decreased from 35.4 in 2010 to 31.7 at the end of 2016 despite the significant increase in population and in the number of private and public vehicles and the frequent road constructions. Concerning the NBSS – implemented by the General Directorate of Civil Defense – the fire rate per 100,000 inhabitants was reduced from 57 in the baseline 2008 to 30.5 by the end of 2016. Other achievements include the issuance of the Civil Defense law, the adoption of the US Fire Fighting Code after adapting it to Qatar’s environmental and urban character, increasing the number of establishments linked to the MOI Central Operation Room through the Early Warning System from 908 in 2008 to 3,100 in 2015, and increasing the number of establishments with fire safety certification from 1,254 in 2011 to 4,170 in 2015.
With regard to national preparedness for disaster management, by the end of 2016, all phases of the project were completed and staff was trained in disasters management and responsiveness and in dealing with the post-disaster recovery phase.
The main outcome to be achieved by the end of 2022 is “Achieving Security, stability and maintaining public safety”. Three intermediate outcomes have been identified, which together help achieve the desired main outcome based on good rationale derived from the analysis of the current social and security situation and its challenges. These results are: Protect society from drugs, road safety and a reduced number of deaths, and developing the Electronic Security Shield System (ESSE).
Although this result was largely achieved in the 2011-2016 NDS-1, it has been decided to continue work and re-incorporate it into the SPSSS 2017-2022 for a number of reasons: first, traffic accidents in Qatar increase at an annual rate of 13%, which means that the total number of accidents will double by the end of 2022.
This is why preventive measures of various forms should continue as a priority. The mortality of young people aged 20-40 in traffic accidents is 52% of total road traffic deaths. Qatari mortality rate out of total road traffic deaths was 16% during 2011-2016.
Furthermore, there was a large and continuous increase in the number of people and vehicles (over one million vehicles by the end of 2016), making Qatar one of the world’s highest countries in terms of vehicle-to-population ratio. Statistics indicate that in spite of the large increase in population over 2011-2016, the number of serious traffic accidents during the same period increased, but its rate had slightly increased from 25.3 to 25.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The number of serious injuries per 100,000 inhabitants was 33.7 in 2011, decreased to 28.7 in 2015 and then increased to 33.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016.
The number of road traffic deaths decreased from 205 in 2011 to 178 in 2016, (13%). The mortality rate in these accidents per 100,000 inhabitants fell by seven percentage points from 13.4 to 6.9 deaths, which is less than the global average of 10, the rate the SPSSS sought to reach by the end of 2016. This outcome was achieved thanks to drivers’ increased awareness of the risk of speed and to improved response of emergency ambulance services that contributed to life saving. Although the rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people is low and it decreased over the period from 3.5% to 2.2%, its percentage of total road traffic deaths remained very high at 32% in 2016, which is much higher than the global average. The goal was to reduce this rate to 17% and it was not achieved due to a failure to build the proposed footbridges at the sites identified by the SPSSS.
As for road traffic death rate by age group, it is highest in the group of adolescents and youth with 48.6% for age group 10-29. Adding the deaths of age group 30-39 (not classified as young people on some subjects), they combined account for 70% of total road traffic deaths. The statistics also show that the mortality rate decreases with younger or older age group, reaching 3.2% of the total deaths among those aged 60+. Most teenagers and some young people are known to drive without a driver’s license and with a little experience, not to mention driving at excessive speeds as well as reckless driving.
There is a positive correlation among three phenomena: increased population, increased number of vehicles and increased number of traffic accidents. Having reviewed the increase in population and in the number of traffic accidents, the third element of this equation – increased number of vehicles – will be reviewed. The number of vehicles went up from 814,000 in 2011 to 1,330,000 in 2016, at an average annual increase rate of 10% or 60,000 vehicles. Based on this trend, the number of vehicles in Qatar is expected to become 1,964,978 in 2022, which requires effective preventive measures on more than one traffic level to avoid a significant rise in road accidents and ensuing deaths. The increased number of vehicles corresponds to the issuance of approximately 100,000 new driving licenses annually. It should be noted that the impact of this type of increase may be less than what the SPSSS expects, with the completion of the construction of the Rail Project and the development of public transport in the country. A statistical assessment of the impact of these public mass transit projects on reducing congestion on roads and serious traffic accidents is desirable.
This outcome includes three targets:
1- Reduced serious traffic accidents: Gradually reduce the serious accidents rate per 100,000 inhabitants from 25.7 in 2016 to 20 by 2022, (an average of one serious accident per 100,000 inhabitants).
2- Reduced road traffic deaths: Reduce road traffic deaths from 6.9 per 100,000 by the end of 2016 to 6 by 2022 (0.2 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants annually).
3- Reduced serious road traffic injuries: Reduce the number of serious injuries per 100,000 inhabitants from 33.6 in 2016 to 25 by 2022 (two injuries annually).
Two projects have been developed to achieve these goals:
1- The Safe Driving Project: This includes promoting driving schools, tightening procedures of driving license issuance, intensifying traffic awareness programs, and expanding radar and camera installation.
2- “Together for a Permanently Moving Doha” Project: This is an electronic simulation program to ensure traffic flow and reduce bottlenecks before implementing detours. It is a joint project between MOI and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
For more information, kindly check NDS-2.