Sharjah Police return missing digital camera to Saudi visitor; there's a system in place that ensures the return of lost items to their owners. Image Credit: Sharjah Police

Dubai: A tourist who sought help from Dubai Police to find his lost marriage certificate received a joyful surprise when police recovered it from the hotel he had stayed in.

Colonel Rashid Bin Safwan, director of the Lost and Found Department in Dubai Police, said the tourist from a Gulf country returned home only to discover he had lost his marriage certificate during his trip. “He kept searching for the certificate for about four months. He emailed Dubai Police asking for help. He wasn’t sure where he lost it but we found the marriage certificate in the hotel he booked during his trip,” Col Bin Safwan said.

The hotel found some papers in the room and decided to keep it. The police called the tourist to confirm the certificate and delivered it to him. The man thanked the police especially for saving him from going through a long and complicated procedure to get a new marriage certificate in his country.

Col Bin Safwan called on people to alert police when they lose items so they can assist them. “If a tourist loses an item, we dedicate a team to try to find it immediately, or sometimes send the item to his/her home country. Unfortunately, some people who lose their belongings don’t inform the authority.”

Background check

Meanwhile, Col Bin Safwan said when police stations receive lost and abandoned items they keep them for around a month so the owners can claim them. Officers check with other departments across the UAE to ensure there are no lost item reports or if these items are involved in any criminal cases.

All items are logged and stored in warehouses for about a month until the owner is identified; if there is no claimant, it is auctioned.

The items included watches, jewellery, cash, smartphones, laptops, tablets and other electronics.

“We have earned Dh6.2 million in the auctions since 2017, including Dh3.8 million in an auction this year. The revenue goes to the state treasury,” Col Bin Safwan added.

The department is governed by Law No. 5 of 2015, which 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. The failure to do so invites criminal liability.

“We honour the person, who hands over the lost item, with a certificate and a reward of 10 per cent of the value of the item, with a maximum of Dh50,000. If a person who lost an item has already left the country, we send them the item by mail after verifying his/her identity,” Col Bin Safwan said.

He said that police will add lost and found icon on Dubai Police’s application on smartphones.

To report lost and found call 901 or to go through Dubai police website, www.dubaipolice.gov.ae.