x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Banks to report bounced cheques to police online

Banks will be able to file cases of bounced cheques online within the next six months, speeding up procedures and reducing the police's workload.

DUBAI // Banks will be able to file cases of bounced cheques online within the next six months, speeding up procedures and reducing the police's workload. Maj Gen Khamis Mattar al Mazeina, the deputy chief of Dubai Police, said eventually banks would be able to enter cases directly into police records. The system, which has yet to be fully approved by the Ministry of Interior, might eventually be introduced across the country, said Gen al Mazeina.

"The ministry has already given us initial approval on the system, but there are some technical details that are still under study to ensure its safety," he said. "If the system is to be directly linked to the police's criminal records, banks would have to appoint one employee, who is to be accredited by police, to be responsible for the filing of these cases for security reasons." The move is aimed at easing the police workload by eliminating the need for bank representatives to go to stations to file cases. It would also speed up the collection of information, officials said.

However, the new system would not affect investigation procedures and was purely an administrative matter, Gen al Mazeina said. Cases of bounced cheques registered a noticeable increase in the first half of last year. Between January and May, 544,196 cheques bounced - about one in 18 of the 9.75 million issued, according to Ministry of Justice figures. Bounced cheques are considered a criminal offence punishable by prison terms.

Because of the increase in cases, many of which involved people who defaulted on cheques because they lost their jobs and could no longer afford to pay, several government officials have suggested that they should be referred to the civil courts, rather than be a police matter. @Email:wissa@thenational.ae