People at Jumeirah Beach enjoy the holiday on the first day of the new year in Dubai, 1st January 2017. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Police caught a total of 1,725 people for committing various offences on beaches last year, with infractions ranging from taking pictures of women, disturbing beach users to swimming in an underwear.

Dubai Police records show that 289 offences involved people caught taking pictures of women on the beach without their knowledge, while 743 cases involved people caught disturbing other beachgoers.

Brigadier Abdul Qader Al Bannai, director of ports police station, said they caught 256 people swimming in their underwear last year.

“It is illegal to take pictures of women on the beaches without their knowledge. Our aim is to make beachgoers feel comfortable and protected from offenders as tourists visiting Dubai’s beaches grow,” Brigadier Al Bannai told Gulf News.

The ports police station patrol marine transportation and public beaches — Jumeirah Open Beach, Umm Suqeim Beach, JBR and Al Mamzar Beach Park.

Meanwhile, Brigadier Al Bannai, said there were 14 deaths and four injuries on Dubai beaches last year, down from 29 deaths and six injuries in 2016.

“It is 50 per cent decline in drowning incidents and number of death on the beaches. The security programmes we adopted last year and awareness campaigns helped reduce the number of drowning incidents on Dubai’s beaches,” Brigadier Al Bannai added.

He said that increase in lifeguards’ towers also helped reduce drowning incidents.

“We have 15 lifeguards towers which responded quickly to drowning incidents,” Brigadier Al Bannai added.

Dubai Police urged the beachgoers to be careful especially after sunset as Dubai Municipality’s lifeguards only operate from sunrise to sunset.

“Part of the problem is that many beachgoers are not aware of safety measures while swimming on beaches. Our police patrols are always on the beach for an emergency but we need people’s cooperation to tackle the problem,” Brig Al Bannai said.

Despite a 50 per cent decline in cases of theft, Dubai Police urged beachgoers not to leave their valuables or cash on the beaches and go swimming.

“We recorded 30 cases of theft last year compared to 60 in 2016. Beachgoers shouldn’t leave their cash or valuables on the beach and go swimming. It is negligence.”

Police stats show that 246 people left their belongings without monitoring on the beaches last year.

Jet ski offences

Port police station recorded 303 offences for jet ski last year compared to 210 in 2016. The offences included entering prohibited areas, disturbing beachgoers, not wearing life jackets, not renewing the licence and speeding.