Sharjah Police return a missing digital camera to a visitor. Image Credit: Sharjah Police

Sharjah: It’s not really lost until Sharjah Police can’t find it. So says the Lost and Found office of the police which is tasked with hunting down personal items midslaced throughout the emirate on a daily basis by residents and tourists alike.

One recent case, for example, involved officers responding to a report by an elderly man who forgot where he parked his car. Police took the issue seriously and went to the scene, took the man around the area and found the “missing car” within an hour.

In another incident, a Saudi tourist was deeply thankful when his lost digital camera was returned to him at his home after he forgot it at Sharjah International Airport.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Lieutenant Colonel Abdullah Allai, Director of the Wasit Police station and director of the Lost and Found department, said officers remain on the lookout for misplaced items.

There is a good return for the investment, he said. Last year, police received 9,151 reports of lost items compared to 8,001 items reported to date this year.

9151

reports of lost items received in 2017

4934

of the lost items were official documents

Last year, the lion’s share of missing items were 4,934 official documents as compared to 6,860 missing official documents reported this year.

Some of these items were returned to their owners. “The most commonly lost items include, official documents, mobile phones, laptop, wallets, jewellery and even animals.”

When the office receives lost official documents, it contacts owner when it knows their whereabouts to notify them of their recovered property, he said. They are invited to report to the office to collect their items or they are forwarded to the issuing authority whether they are government institutions, private agencies or embassies, he said.

The office, Lt Col Allai said, spares no effort to reach the owners of lost items, even if they are outside the country, especially for high-ticket items such as cell phones, watches, cameras, bags etc. If the person is not located they are kept until the time for legal action comes.

If the person has left the country, he said, “We send him/her the item by mail after verifying his/her identity. We dedicate a team to try to find him/her immediately. Unfortunately, some people who lose their belongings don’t inform the authority.”

48

time to report finding of a lost item to police

Lt Col Allai said: “We check with other police departments across the UAE to ensure there are no lost item reports or if there are criminal cases involving these items.”

The lost items which remain unclaimed for six months will be auctioned. All the revenues [including lost cash] go to the government treasury.

However, if the owner claims the item after it’s auctioned, he may still receive the revenue from the sold item. While concerning documents such as passport, if no one claims within six months, the department sends it to the consulate of that country.

If it’s a UAE passport, police send it to the immigration department.

Report a lost item

“There are many ways to locate your lost items. You can visit the nearest police station, you can use the Ministry of Interior app or website, or you can call Police toll-free number 901,” said Lt Col Allai.