A pile of wrist watches at the Lost and Found Department of Dubai Police. As many as 11.000 unclaimed watches were auctioned by the Department last year. Image Credit: Dubai Police

Dubai: Dubai Police’s Lost and Found Department earned Dh3.86 million by auctioning thousands of unclaimed items last November.

Among the auctioned items were a Vertu mobile phone worth Dh60,000, a jet ski, a kayak and an electric generator.

“All Dubai Police stations receive lost and abandoned items, and keep them there for around a month so the owners can claim them. If no one claims such items, those are sent to the lost and found section at the Dubai Police Headquarters,” said Lt Colonel Rashid Bin Safwan, Deputy Director at Lost and Found Department. All the items are logged and stored in a warehouse.

“When it reaches our department we check with other police departments across the UAE to ensure there were no lost item reports or if there are criminal cases involving these items.”

The department is governed by Law No. 5, 2015 which was passed under a decree by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The law states that anyone who finds any lost and/or abandoned property, including money, is obliged to hand it over to the police within 48 hours, following which the police will issue a report. Failure to do so invites criminal liability.

“We honour the people who deposit such items at the police stations. Most of lost items are handed over at the police stations by hotels, shopping malls and members of the public,” Lt Col Bin Safwan said. He said the unclaimed items are auctioned and the revenue goes to the state treasury.

Among the items auctioned in November 2017 were 14,600 mobile phones, 1,679 tablets, 639 laptops, 1,217 cameras and 11,000 watches.

“If a person who lost an item had already left the country, we send him the item by mail after verifying their identity” he added.

The department, he said delivers lost items to their owners at their homes if they are special needs, sick or elderly.

“If a tourist loses an item, we dedicate a team to try to find it immediately, or sometimes send the item to his home country. Recently we shipped a bag containing important papers to a Saudi tourist in his home country.”