What are the Legal Consequences of Impersonating Police in the UAE?

Posted by Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy on June 16th, 2022

Impersonation refers to the ‘an act of pretending to be another person for the purpose of entertainment or fraud’. It constitutes a criminal offence under UAE laws. The police department of the UAE has constantly issued warnings as well as educational videos informing the public of such instances as well as informing them on the strict penalties imposed on offenders of this law. The penalties imposed are severe in the instance that the impersonation of a public officer is carried out.

Types of Impersonation:

Impersonation can be of many types:

  • For instance, ‘Cheating by personation’, wherein a person cheats by pretending to be some other person, or by knowingly substituting one person for another, or representing that he or any other person is a person other than he or such other person really is. This can be better grasped by an example; for instance, a person meets another and represents himself using the name of a well-known banker or any other public official and convincing the other person so cheats him.
  • “Social Media personification”, pans out in ways similar to identity threats where either the name, image or other elements of identifying a person are misused for fraudulent purposes. This is quite common with the ease of technology.
  • Similarly, “Service Impersonation” wherein a well-known brand or company is usually impersonated to gain access and latest to steal information or to defraud otherwise.
  • “Email impersonation”: This is often referred to as a ‘phishing tactic’, wherein a legitimate-looking email id is created and then used to attack or gain the trust of the unsuspecting party who believes it to be an authentic email. Money or excessive sensitive data is quite often the goal behind such attacks.

The UAE law does not distinguish different types of impersonation; however, it constitutes a criminal offence pursuant to Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021 on the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law (the ‘Penal code’). Article 299 of the penal code states that “Any person who falsely pretends to hold a public office, shall be liable to a jail sentence for a period not exceeding five (5) years. The same penalty shall be imposed against any person who impersonates a public official or servant and engages in a public office or service or assumes any of its activities or requirements to achieve an unlawful purpose or to obtain any benefit of any type, either for himself or for another person”. Further, the penalty shall be a jail sentence for a period not less than one (1) year and not exceeding five (5) years if one of the crimes set forth in paragraph (1) is committed by impersonating any employee of the police or security bodies.

If the impersonation is carried out by publicly or by unlawfully wearing an official uniform or clothing designated by law to a particular category of people ( such as police officers, security and defence forces); or by falsely wearing a uniform of a higher rank or bearing decoration, ribbon, badge or mark of an office can impose a jail sentence for a period not exceeding one (1) year or a fine not less than Aed Ten thousand (10,000). The said provision shall also apply if the uniform or decoration or whatever abovementioned pertains to a foreign State and if the impersonation has been on account of falsely using of honorary, official, scientific, or academic titles etc. (Article 300).

Raising public awareness is the first step required in order to combat such acts. In fulfilment of this goal, the police departments across the UAE have repeatedly conducted campaigns across the country to raise awareness. Along with release of educational videos, a specific campaign concentrating on combating impersonation activities have been launched as well. When faced with a similar situation, it is essential to maintain caution as well as to exercise your judgment, and one is within their rights to request a police id card for verification. When in doubt, reach for further assistance from the police department and ensure to register a complaint.

URL: https://www.alrowaad.ae/

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Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy

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Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy
Joined: February 3rd, 2021
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