Dubai residents fear complaining about police despite invitation from force

The consensus among those who spoke to The National was that lodging complaints would be too much hassle for what are often trivial issues.

DUBAI // Residents are reluctant to register complaints against police despite the process being simple and likely to be met with a prompt response.

The consensus among those speaking to The National was that it would be too much hassle for what were often trivial issues.

Of 687 complaints made against Dubai Police officers or services in the first nine months of the year, only 98 were found to be valid.

The Rights and Freedoms Protection unit at the police Department of Human Rights investigates any complaint and aims to give a response within seven days. Many residents, however, were either unaware of the procedure or were uncomfortable having further dealings with the police.

E S, an Egyptian who has lived in Dubai for five years, said she and her husband had to deal with a sticky situation when they were fined by an officer after getting into an argument with a cab driver.

“The taxi driver did something really dangerous on the road, so we asked him to immediately park because he was also getting very rude,” she said.

“We called the police and when an officer came he fined us instead of the driver for disrupting traffic.”

The couple called to complain about the fine and were told that they had every right to complain.

“However, we never did, believing it was a he said/she said scenario. We just thought it would be better to pay the fine than go through the hassle of dealing with the process,” she said.

M F, a 29-year-old Canadian who has lived in Dubai for eight years, said he did not know if he would file a complaint against police. It would depend on the severity of the mistreatment. “If it were a minor case, then I think I would drop it. However, if I feel that there has been a criminal act against me or my family members I will have no problem issuing a complaint,” he said. “I have thankfully never had a bad experience with Dubai Police but, at the end of the day, they’re not above the law.”

Lt Col Ahmad Al Mansouri, director of the Rights and Freedoms Protection unit, said the majority of valid complaints were in relation to traffic issues.

He said that the public should not be afraid to complain if they felt they had been mistreated.

“If a police officer is found to have committed a crime, his case will be transferred to public prosecution,” he said.

“Even if he abuses his jurisdiction as a police officer, he will face a disciplinary board that will punish him for his actions. An officer can even get fired.”

American N S, 28, said the general perception of Dubai Police was positive but added an incident with a police officer had led her to be cautious.

“My car had a flat tyre and a good Samaritan was helping me change it,” said the six-year resident. “A police officer stopped behind us and came up to us to check the situation, but he also asked for my number in an unprofessional context. I refused to give it to him, after which he inquired about my marital status and then eventually left. It’s uncomfortable because they are in a position of power, but once you decline to provide unnecessary information, he let it go.”

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae

Published: December 4, 2014 04:00 AM

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