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Efforts intensify to combat begging in UAE during Ramadan

Efforts intensify to combat begging in UAE during Ramadan
1 Apr 2024 09:23

SAEED AHMED (ABU DHABI)


UAE security authorities are intensifying their efforts to combat the phenomenon of begging. The public is being urged not to sympathise with beggars and to report cases to relevant authorities. Beggars are considered violators of the law, deceiving people to take their money, and authorities have succeeded in significantly reducing their numbers during the holy month of Ramadan.

Colonel Jassim bin Taliah, head of the Sharjah Police’s Control Committee for Beggars and Street Vendors, revealed that a comprehensive plan aimed at combating the phenomenon has been in place throughout the year. This plan especially focuses on holidays, occasions, and Ramadan.

Police personnel are strategically distributed based on statistical and spatial analysis of the Emirate, he said. Sharjah Police, in collaboration with the Anti-Begging Committee, launched the “Begging is a Crime, Giving is Responsibility” campaign during Ramadan. The campaign aims to raise community awareness about the dangers of these phenomena, emphasising security and stability.

It builds upon previous awareness campaigns by targeting negative behaviours that increase during the holy month, such as begging and street vending. Colonel bin Taliah cautioned the public against dealing with beggars to avoid falling victim to fraud and deception.

Beggars exploit community compassion and goodwill, he said. He called upon community members to actively contribute to eliminating this phenomenon. Instead of giving directly to beggars, he encouraged donations through officially recognised charitable associations and institutions approved by government authorities.

Incidents of begging can be reported via the toll-free number 901 or through the “Haris” service on the Sharjah Police smart app or website, he said. Colonel Ahmed Saeed Al Nuaimi, director of the Investigations and Criminal Investigations Department at Ajman Police, highlighted the various methods beggars employ. Some stand in front of sales outlets, offering food or mineral water without permission, aiming to gain sympathy and collect money. These behaviours distort the public view and harm the country, he emphasised.

Ajman Police has consistently organised campaigns to combat begging. The police’s Ramadan campaign aims to unite citizens, residents, and institutions in the emirate to curb begging, Colonel Al Nuaimi said.

He noted that the police have a well-prepared plan in place that includes intensified security presence, awareness education, and a team to monitor and follow up on beggars. Locations targeted by beggars, such as commercial markets, residential neighbourhoods, mosques, and banks, are under scrutiny. Hotlines are available for reporting incidents.

He pointed out that Ajman boasts numerous charitable associations aiding the poor, needy, and sick. Anyone in need can turn to these associations, eliminating the necessity for begging.

The police will not hesitate to take action, he noted. Kaid Ubaid Suroor, a citizen, said: “The phenomenon of begging has significantly declined, as no beggars have been seen during Ramadan.” He underscored his appreciation for security authorities’ awareness campaigns to combat this phenomenon and reduce its spread.

Another UAE national, Khalfan Ali bin Saram, said: “Most beggars, especially females, play on peoples’ empathy. Authorities need to tighten penalties and legal procedures to limit such behaviour and preserve peoples’ money and the civilised image of the country.”

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