x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Watch what you wear, and not what others are wearing

The most common offence, with 1,400 complaints, relates to people accused of visiting the beach to stare at other people.

DUBAI // If you go down to the beach today, make sure you're properly dressed.

Police will be watching for anyone who is clearly interested in activities other than swimming and sunbathing - especially those who start taking photos of women with their mobile phones.

Police recorded about 2,000 offences of bad behaviour on Dubai beaches in the first nine months of this year, an increase of a third on the same period last year.

The most common offence, with 1,400 complaints, relates to people accused of visiting the beach to stare at other people.

Police call them overdressers.

"There are people who come to the beach with a suit or with full dress. Their purpose is not to enjoy the beach or go for a swim, but rather to stare at and annoy other beachgoers," said Lt Col Abdullah Al Mazyoud, the director of the Ports Police station.

"This is not acceptable. There are specially assigned places for walking and if you are not there to swim, do not get near the water."

It is also possible to be underdressed. More than 300 people have been cautioned this year for wearing inappropriate beach clothes, such as underwear.

"People need to show some respect for other beachgoers. They simply swim in underwear that shows their body parts without shame. This cannot be tolerated," said Lt Col Al Mazyoud.

Police also receive complaints from women that strangers with mobile phones are photographing them.

"This is a problem for us. People need to understand that this practice can have serious consequences," said Lt Col Al Mazyoud.

Police registered 106 such incidents, and they urge victims to report the behaviour.

"The person who has been photographed needs to file a complaint to the police for us to refer to the Public Prosecution," said Lt Col Al Mazyoud.

"Many people refrain from doing so but I urge the public to cooperate with us and report such crimes to curb this practice."

Other offences considered anti-social behaviour are playing loud music or playing ball games in an aggressive manner.

In most cases, offenders are required to sign a police document promising not to repeat the offence.

Lt Col Al Mazyoud said the number of offences had risen because more people were going to the beach, and there were more police patrols. There are five surveillance towers on Dubai beaches.

More than 3.3 million people last year visited the three main beaches in the city - Mamzar, Jumeirah Beach Park and the Jumeirah open beach.