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Beggars CAN be choosers


Dubai Police have reached that time of the year when they spread awareness about catching beggars. There is a hotline to call and you could receive an award for reporting them.

July 16, 2012 3:00 by

It’s the most wonderful time of the yea-, wait no it’s the time when Dubai Police launches a ‘catch the beggar’ program during Ramadan. There is a hotline number and a reward for those that report them.

The department has already announced that 60 patrol cars will be deployed before Ramadan in places with frequently sighted beggars. In fact, I noticed an ‘undercover’ police car today with a tiny logo on the inconspicuous car; perhaps it was related to this matter or maybe i am just being paranoid.

For a police department to launch and continue such an active campaign against begging must mean that it has become an organized business epidemic in Dubai. It is hard to attribute it to a single reason but we can all guess why they would flock to Dubai on visit visas.

The CID has revealed many examples of apprehended beggars and their schemes used to inject guilt and sympathy into the minds of unknowing citizens. A woman confessed to renting a baby and taking it with her on begging strolls so that people would have a more sensitive and sympathetic response. According to statistics by the CID, many come to Dubai on a visit visa, pile up the cash and then leave.

I myself have been approached countless times. A sucker for a frown and a sob story, one could say. However there are some sights that a mind cannot forget; like seeing a beggar that you just gave money to step into a car or witnessing them buying a large bottle of Evian water (even I would stick to Masafi).

Director of the CID department, Brigadier Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, said that the police department annually reinforces the campaign to spread awareness about the impact of begging in undermining the community and the nation at large. They also look for different ways to battle it but the word ‘undermining’ could be regarded as harsh; after all there are beggars in almost every country including developed ones in Europe.

The needy have been advised by the Police general to head to charity organizations rather than end up on streets or knocking on doors asking for money.

He stressed that these should be treated as professional beggars but not needy persons and the public should alert the police through the campaign’s toll-free number 800243.

The Director of Tourist Police Department and head of the campaign, Colonel Mohammed Rashid Al Muhairi, revealed “a significant decline in begging activities.” The number of beggars arrested from 2009 to 2011 was 1,900 (1577 males and 323 females). 

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