Dubai: Dubai Police officials on Saturday met with Filipino community leaders to raise awareness on UAE laws — including the new traffic laws — and urged them to help ‘police’ the city by reporting crimes, emergencies, or any violations.
The Diplomatic and Consular Affairs Section of Dubai Police held the special community forum in partnership with the Philippine Consulate-General. The talk is part of a series of awareness campaigns that Dubai Police holds as part of their engagement with the community.
Dubai Police is already in talks with the consulates and embassies of other communities in order to hold a similar forum with one goal in mind: to ensure the safety and security of everyone in Dubai.
“You are our partners, not guests. You are part of the UAE community. That’s why we would like to thank the Philippine consulate for allowing us to educate you on UAE laws and we urge you to spread the information you will get from here to your colleagues,” Lt Col Dr Juma Ali Al Rahoomi told the gathering.
The forum centred on major issues and new developments such as the new UAE traffic laws that came into effect on July 1, criminal investigation, human trafficking and illegal recruitment, immigration, drugs and narcotics, alcohol awareness, immorality, and the responsible use of social media.
Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes urged the participants to share what they have learnt but emphasised on disseminating correct information with everyone as “making UAE safe is not just the responsibility of the government but of everyone.”
The officials clarified that they are not singling out the Filipinos or any nationality on the issues mentioned in the campaign. The forum’s aim is to encourage everyone to contribute in keeping Dubai safe.
If they witness crimes or any suspicious behaviour, Captain Ahmad Bin Fahad from the Smart Services Department urged residents to report it by dialling 901 or using the Dubai Police Eye in their app.
Just by tapping on icons on the app, residents can report people causing disturbance, drug-related activities, sale of alcohol, suspicious vehicle, suspicious gathering, illegal phone credit sale, gambling, begging, vandalism, prostitution, among others. Similarly, reporting parking violations, including blocking traffic, may also be reported on the “We Are Police” section of the app.
For traffic rules and violations, Capt Bin Fahad also urged motorists to take advantage of the app to report any minor accidents within minutes. Around 80 to 85 per cent of accidents that happen in Dubai are minor accidents.
“Sending police patrols to minor accidents takes them away from their assigned locations that [need police visibility]. Why wait for 60 minutes when you can report it within three minutes using the app?”
Capt Bin Fahad also dispelled misconceptions that having the Dubai Police App on your phone is tantamount to being “monitored by police”.
“The Dubai Police is a social police. We are one with the people. We are here to help and not be suspicious of everyone.”
Other important matters discussed was the issue on “love cases” or “baby cases” brought about by people engaging in sex out of wedlock.
“Sex out of wedlock and resulting pregnancies are non-negotiable. You will go to jail and will be deported. The laws in the UAE are different from the Philippines where you can freely do as you please,” Cortes said.
Dubai Police answer common questions on some issues
1) On Human Trafficking: If I have information on women being trafficked? What should you do?
Call us immediately at 901 to help us help the victims. Your identity will be kept confidential.
2) On the responsible use of social media: What photos and videos can be posted?
Never post anything that violates the privacy of another individual. If there are other people on the photo or video, ensure you have their permission to post the photos. Once the material is online, it’s already in the public domain.
3) What if the photos or videos are on emergencies or about accidents?
Posting videos or photos of burning buildings is not illegal so long as the privacy of tenants or other people is not infringed. For photos or videos of accidents, exercise caution. It’s best to inform police, especially if the video could be used as evidence for a wrongdoing.
4) On traffic rules and regulations: What if a motorist is tailgating you or using a mobile phone while driving?
Take note of the location, the vehicle’s plate number and when you are able to stop somewhere safe, call 901.
5) On drugs, how can someone legally bring prescription drugs such as Tramadol for my medical needs from my home country?
All residents in the UAE are required to go to government hospitals to get prescriptions on these drugs. If you’re a tourist, go to your country’s health authority to get a prescription and send it to the UAE embassy for stamping and bring it with you on your trip to the UAE.
6) On immorality or love cases: if you know someone who got pregnant out of wedlock, what should you advise her?
It is her responsibility to report to the Philippine consulate or to Dubai Police and never give birth at home. By voluntarily going to authorities, she can ensure a safe delivery and her baby will have proper documentation after birth. However, she will still face three to six months imprisonment and deportation.
7) On human trafficking: you’re working as a maid and have been offered a higher-paying job by someone you just met online. What should you do?
Never run away. Complete your contractual obligations and get a release from your employer. Be cautious of people who make “sweet promises” to you as they can be human traffickers luring you in their trap and would later force you into prostitution.