Dubai Police make hundreds of arrests in anti-begging drive

Public is urged to give to legitimate charities rather than risk falling prey to criminals

Dubai Police arrested 458 people for begging offences during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr. Dubai Police    
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Dubai Police arrested hundreds of people in an anti-begging campaign during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.

Street patrols targeted hotspots throughout the emirate, and officers arrested 435 people during the holy month. Twenty-three were detained in the Eid holiday.

A senior officer said begging was a threat to public safety.
 Offenders face fines of up to Dh5,000 and three months in jail.

Police regularly urge members of the public not to give money to people begging on the streets, but instead donate to authorised charities to ensure they are supporting those legitimately in need.

Col Ali Salem of Dubai Police said teams of officers made sweeps of the emirate during the clampdown.

"They were sent to areas where beggars were most likely to be present, to arrest them one by one," Col Salem said.

He said the annual drive cut down the number of beggars on the emirate's streets.

"The strict measures taken against arrested beggars also played a part," he said.

“Begging is dangerous, not only because it's a threat to people’s safety and property and because it distorts the modern image of the country, but because it also leads to dangerous outcomes.”

He said begging often resulted in crimes of theft and exploitation of children.

He urged members of the public to report begging to the 901 phone number or to use the Dubai Police app.