The campaign will involve Dubai Municipality, Al Awqaf and Residency Affairs as well as security authorities in other emirates. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News archives

Dubai: CID patrols will monitor public places, shopping centres, mosques and residential areas as part of the anti-begging campaign launched during Ramadan by Dubai police on Sunday.

Major General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said CID had formed police patrols and field teams to cover all areas of Dubai. The campaign will involve Dubai Municipality, Al Awqaf and Residency Affairs as well as security authorities in other emirates.

“We are keen to tackle the problem of begging in the city during Ramadan especially near mosques. Many people participate in good initiatives during this holy month and pay money or help poor people, but many beggars are taking advantage of them. Don’t sympathise with the beggars, instead give your help or money to charity organisations in the country,” Maj Gen Al Mansouri said.

This year, the police arrested 268 beggars, including 240 men and 28 women. Last year, the police arrested 1,021 beggars, including 175 women. Since 2015, Dubai Police have nabbed 6,848 beggars.

“Last Ramadan we arrested 614 beggars compared to 312 beggars in Ramadan in 2015. Usually during Ramadan many beggars are arrested but we now have a plan to tackle them. We will have 21 officers supervising the city to respond to begging complaints in Dubai,” Maj Gen Al Mansouri added.

Officers usually check if a beggar really needs money or is just pretending to be poor before punishing the person with one month in jail to be followed with deportation and confiscation of the money. “If the beggar was real then we refer him to charities to help him.”

Police have warned against using social media for begging saying it’s the latest begging gimmick. “People should be careful when they receive messages or posts on social networks regarding poor people who need help as most of it is not true or is just another scam.”

He said children have also been also used in the begging business and in the last two years the police have spotted 20 children begging for money. He said that all the beggars come here on visit visas and there has been no incident of Emiratis or residents begging in the streets.

Dubai police said many beggars use different tricks to get people to give them money by posing as special needs persons or using wheel chairs or using make-up on the arm to show that he was burnt and can’t work.

Meanwhile, First Lieutenant Mohammad Al Hamadi, head of criminal investigation Department in General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs,Dubai, warned tourists companies to be careful when they issue visas for individuals as many beggars come on visit visa.

“We always check with tourist companies to be sure when they apply for visit visas for people. We always undertake inspections of those companies and sometimes we close the company if they have violated the rules,” First Lieutenant Al Hamadi said.



What to do when you spot a beggar?

Contact Dubai Police on 901 or 0502106969 about any beggar or any information about them