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First robotic cop joins Dubai police

The world's first operational police robot stands to attention in front of Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, on May 31, 2017 (AFP Photo/GIUSEPPE CACACE)

Dubai (AFP) - After bringing in Lamborghinis and Ferraris to patrol roads, Dubai police have enrolled a robotic officer, the first in a unit that aims to make up a quarter of the force by 2030.

The robotic cop stood to attention Wednesday night at the foot of Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, as tourists and passersby snapped selfie souvenir photos by its side.

Wearing a police cap and moving on wheels, the robot features a computer touch-screen on its chest that can be used to report a crime or inquire about speeding tickets.

"Our aim is to raise the number of robots to 25 percent of the police force by 2030," said Brigadier Khaled al-Razzooqi, head of Smart Services at Dubai police.

The robot, to be deployed mainly at tourist spots, is equipped with a camera that transmits live images to the operations room and it can identify suspects wanted by police.

The main purpose is to "find a new way to deal with people", said Razzooqi, while acknowledging that robots could not replace humans on tasks such as making arrests.

Police in Dubai, a growing tourism hub which attracted nearly 15 million visitors last year, have previously attracted media attention by parading expensive luxury cars as patrol vehicles.