Sharjah - Hello 999? I wish to report to UAE cops a crime that never occurred

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The Sharjah Police have received 32 calls that give out misleading and false information on its emergency number 999.- Alamy Image

32 false calls rattle Sharjah Police.

>An Asian man called the Sharjah Police warning them that a bomb had been planted at a popular commercial outlet. The police swung into action and carried out necessary measures to deal with the situation. Later, it was found that it was a hoax call. The police managed to identify the caller thanks to surveillance cameras. The man was arrested and referred to the court.

>A caller informed the police that a person possessed opium for consumption and assured them that his information was correct. When the police took action, it emerged that the caller had concocted the story. The caller was tracked and referred to the court, which found him guilty of providing false information and jailed him.

>An Arab woman accused a man - a GCC national - of raping her and filed a police complaint against him. The investigation found out that the woman's complaint was bogus and intended to seek revenge against the man, whom she loved, but had married another woman. Investigations and forensic reports revealed the innocence of the man.

The Sharjah Police have received 32 calls that gave out misleading and false information on its emergency number 999 in three months. The calls made from August to October ranged from reports about domestic violence and vandalism to criminal threats and sexual abuse. A man also raised a false alarm about a fire, grossly inconveniencing the police and their resources.

These calls can leave the authorities confused and render their efforts futile, as they waste their time in investigating crimes that have not occurred.

A top officer said that the police operations room and departments concerned follow all procedures while dealing with such calls, even if, sometimes, their instincts tell them they are made up.

When officers delved into decoding these calls, they found that they were made either with a malicious intent or to settle scores with someone, or to set up a friend or a business partner due to a dispute. Some calls were made in jest and as a prank. The official explained that the police also received several complaints which were motivated by an urge to damage the reputation of someone.

A 'false' call is legally defined as deliberately informing the judicial authority or the administrative authorities of a decree involving the imposition of a punishable act against a specific person, with the intention of damaging his reputation and honour. The law gives the right to the affected person who was falsely accused to sue the caller. "Most of the callers are adolescents or people with limited awareness of the law."

False callers can be jailed

>Up to six months in jail and fine for reporting incidents or dangers that do not exist or for a crime the caller knows was not committed

>Any person who falsely notifies the judicial authority or the administrative authorities about someone else can be jailed

>It is an offence to fabricate material evidence that a person has committed a crime

When can false calls be penalised?

The law specifies some key conditions that must be met for the 'false' call to be penalised

-The call must be reported to the judicial authorities

-The reported order must be punishable

-The report should be made with an intention to inflict harm

(As said by lawyer and legal advisor Hamid Darwish)

[email protected]

Afkar Abdullah

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