Sharjah Police chief appeals to stop issuing visas for certain categories during Ramadan

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Sharjah: The chief of Sharjah Police has appealed to the authorities concerned to stop issuing visit visas to certain categories of applicants during the forthcoming Ramadan, in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to stop activities such as begging.

Sharjah Police have warned the public not to fall for beggars this Ramadan, even as the authorities are ramping up patrols to tackle the issue on city’s streets.

Sharjah Police are reminding the public not to help beggars, some of whom allegedly prey on people’s goodwill during Ramadan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As many as 730 beggars have been arrested and deported during the pandemic in UAE. Police have assured that over the past five months, the issue of begging has decreased.

Police said that in one incident, there was this woman who knocked on the window of a car, asking the driver for money to buy medicines for her children. The man agreed to buy the medicines for her and she took a ride with him in the car, to the nearest pharmacy. The man was carrying with him $10,000 (Dh36,780) in cash for a friend. When he reached the pharmacy, he suddenly remembered that he had left the money in the car and ran back immediately. Upon reaching the car, he realised that the woman had disappeared. When he counted the cash, he found that $2,500 were missing. He immediately reported the issue to the police, who arrested the woman in quick time.

The man thanked police for their prompt action.

The issue was addressed during Wednesday’s interaction where police reviewed their performance during the fifth media forum of the Sharjah Police General Command, organised by the Department of Media and Public Relations at the Police Officers’ Club where all the precautionary measures were in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Sharjah Police registered 42,219 violations related to COVID-19 precautionary measures during 2020, while 21,000 violations were registered since the beginning of this year, police said. Not wearing masks, inability to maintain social distancing and having people travelling in a vehicle in excess of the stipulated number topped the list of violations.

During the media conference, Major General Saif Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police, pointed out that there were 360,000 attestations of tenancy contracts in Al Nahda area of Sharjah. The area is very densely populated, thereby posing a huge challenge to the authorities. Sharjah Police have deployed a mobile police station in the area, which is proving to be a huge success in ensuing safety and security for the society.

The rate of serious crimes in Sharjah fell by 15 per cent, at a rate of 43.25 incidents of crime per 100,000 people last year, compared to 51.03 crimes the year before, according to Sharjah Police officials.

The decline in crime follows ramped-up efforts to fight crime, said senior officials during a briefing about the force’s performance on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s interaction saw participation from, among other police officials, Major-General Saif Al Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; Brigadier Abdullah Mubarak Bin Amer, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; Brigadier Ahmad Al Serkal, Director of Operations; Brigadier Dr Ahmad Saeed Al Naour, Director of Central Operations; and Brigadier Arif Hudeib, Director of Media and Public Relations Department; and a number of senior police officers and representatives of local and foreign media outlets.

Major General Al Shamsi said: “Thanks to His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, and Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, for their support and directives to Sharjah Police.” He added that the General Department of Criminal Investigation achieved 100 per cent success in arresting culprits involved in serious crimes. He attributed the lower crime rate to a new mechanism that involved tracking movements of suspects who were previously involved in criminal activities.

Those who committed serious crimes, such as murder, robbery and assault, are now behind bars. Perpetrators who had managed to flee the country were arrested later, he said. In most of these incidents, police arrested the culprits before they could flee the country.

Major General Al Shamsi also said that police have drawn up a plan for early crime prevention, including an intense awareness campaign to spread the culture of respecting the law. Police patrols have also been intensified on roads and in crime-prone areas to ensure the safety of residents, in addition to bicycle and marine patrols.

Security enhancement index

The forum reviewed a number of performance indicators at the level of Sharjah Police General Headquarters during 2020, where Lt Col Dr Sameh Al-Hallian, Deputy Director of The Department of Strategy and Performance Development, pointed out that the strategic indicator in the rate of serious crimes per 100,000 people dropped by 15 per cent in 2020.

Meanwhile, the index of complaints that were resolved amicably achieved a significant increase of about 86 per cent in 2020, as against 48 per cent, compared to 2019. The drop in crime was also down to activating constructive initiatives that aimed to settle disputes such as the ‘Reconciliation is the Best Way’ initiative, boosting cooperation between community members and the police.

He also said that financial disputes formed a greater percentage of criminal cases. Police managed to solve 48 per cent of financial disputes, which recorded an 86 per cent increase in 2020, compared to 2019. Sharjah also witnessed a decline in drug-related cases last year. “The department spares no effort in raising awareness about the dangers of narcotics, especially among the youth, as they are the most vulnerable,” police said.

The traffic indicator

As for the traffic indicators in Sharjah, Lt Col Dr Sameh Al-Hallian said there was a significant decrease by 53 per cent for every 10,000 vehicles in road accidents, road deaths and deaths resulting from run-over incidents.

The road death index fell by 22 per cent for every 100,000 people. The run-over death index recorded a decline of 44 per cent, compared to 2019. He stressed that several factors have been applied that contributed significantly towards achieving these positive results in relation to traffic indicators and helped reduce them, such as the application of traffic safety standards on roads where accidents occurred and deploying patrols around the clock. As many as 11 awareness campaigns were launched in 2020, in addition to a number of traffic control campaigns and publication of 371 media material to spread awareness.

Response time

Police officials also said that there was an improvement in the response time to emergency calls. While the targeted time to respond to emergencies was set at seven minutes, the actual emergency response time achieved was 6.45 minutes in 2020, compared to 2019 when it was 8.18 minutes. Sharjah Police’s Operations Rooms dealt with 1,282,064 calls on the emergency number 999 and 266,197 calls on the non-emergency number 901. All of that was possible owing to Sharjah Police’s objectives that were consistent with the Ministry of Interior’s aims to enhance public safety and security.

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Police provided its services through 16 Customer Satisfaction centres and provided 83 smart services through the Ministry of Interior’s Sahel app. The number of people who benefit from the smart services reached 490,888. Police restored Dh329,490,163 in cases of financial disputes under ‘Reconciliation is the Best Way’ initiative. Police launched 19 strategic initiatives aimed at achieving the Ministry of Interior’s vision that the UAE is one of the best countries in the world in achieving security and safety.

Social media

More than 2,600,000 persons were benefited from traffic awareness campaigns launched by Sharjah Police on their social media channels. Sharjah Police’s social media channels recorded 24 million views, with 300 awareness videos posted on it.

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