The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) will intensify security patrols in residential areas, public places and commercial centres during the summer to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.
This comes as part of preparations for the Eid holidays and summer vacation, with the Ministry of Interior (MoI)’s Public Relations Department issuing a report that lists a number of dos and don’ts for Qatar’s inhabitants to ensure safety at home and abroad during the travel period.
Many people are expected to visit their native countries or other destinations during this period and the MoI advisory covers a wide range of issues, seeking to ensure a hassle-free trip for all.
• How to secure the house
Speaking on the need to ensure the security of one’s home before beginning a trip, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director Brig Jamal Mohamed al-Kaabi urged individuals and families who intend to travel to take “necessary precautions and secure their homes one way or the other”. He also advised them not to leave valuables or money in the house; instead, they should deposit the same in banks.
He stressed that security patrols in residential areas, public places and commercial centres will be stepped up during the summer to ensure that no robbery, theft or other unlawful acts takes place.
Brig al-Kaabi also advised people to ensure the safety of their vehicles before travelling by parking them inside their compound and not leaving them in public places in order to avoid damage and theft. Further, he urged citizens as well as residents to inform the local police station about the duration of their travel, if they have valuables in the house, and ensure that all doors and windows are properly shut before leaving.
• Safety measures at home
Meanwhile, Lt Col Hussain Aman Ali, assistant director of the Prevention Department, Civil Defence, said people should be especially cautious while using electrical appliances and household items such as air-conditioners, exhaust fans and LPG cylinders during the summer. All safety and security measures should be followed at home, he stressed.
Those spending the summer months outside the country should take precautions such as switching off the gas cylinder, ensuring the safety of windows and doors, not keeping chemicals or flammable items inside the house and keeping a proper fire extinguisher at home, he said. Also, family members who stay back at home should be trained in how to properly use an extinguisher.
He advised people not to overload the power grid and get periodic inspections of electrical connections done by technicians who the required expertise. They should also keep thermoelectric devices away from curtains, upholstery and inflammable materials. Besides, all electrical appliances should be unplugged before leaving the house, especially exhaust fans.
• Airport security
Highlighting the need for travellers to abide by security and safety requirements, Airport Security Department director Brig Eissa Arar al-Rumaihi stressed the importance of not carrying any banned items as specified on air tickets and at airline counters. Advanced technology will reveal any banned item that passengers may be carrying and this may cause delays for them.
Passengers should not carry other people’s luggage without prior knowledge as they may be exposed to legal accountability if it contains a banned item. Also, it is better not to carry any excess baggage if not absolutely necessary. Brig al-Rumaihi asked passengers to co-operate with airport security, immigration and Customs officers, and follow safety the guidelines on board the flight.
Meanwhile, Brig al-Rumaihi reminded passengers that they have to produce their boarding pass and travel documents for inspection while entering the departures area at the airport. A passenger and his/her baggage should pass through a security check and may be asked to undergo additional screening in accordance with procedures followed at international airports. The traveller must place all metal objects in the basket allocated for inspection and make sure that s/he takes them back before leaving the security area.
• Baggage screening
Maj Abdullah Abdul-Hadi al-Dossari, head of the inspection section at the department, said there are a number of prohibited items that should not be carried in a travel bag. These include sharp materials that are not permitted inside handbags - nail scissors and clippers, razors of all kinds except those inside a plastic sheath, all types of knives, cutlery, screwdrivers, lighters, sharp tools, shears except that are no more than 3cm in length, ropes, dartboards, catapult (dart), billiard tools, all kinds of sports rackets, climbing and skiing sticks, toy weapons - plastic or metal, needles (except used for medical purposes with proof), body sprays, measuring tapes, meat and fish, paints, etc. In case any of the above items is found in one’s hand luggage, it will be confiscated.
It is also not allowed to carry more than 1litre of liquid substances, sprays, pastes and gels, with a single pack measuring not more than 100ml, which has to be kept in a transparent plastic bag which is easy to open and close. The size of the bag should not exceed 20×20 cm.
Hazardous materials that are not allowed to be transported in luggage includes weapons, explosives, ammunition, fireworks, all kinds of flammable materials, flammable liquids, acids, batteries containing fluids, flammable or non-flammable compressed and poisonous gases, gas cylinders, radioactive materials, pesticides, weed killers, arsenic, cyanide and infectious substances such as bacteria and germs, among others.
• Airport Passports Department
Col Mohamed Rashid al-Mazroui, director of the Airport Passports Department, asked Qatari citizens and expatriates to keep in mind a set of instructions and tips so to have a safe trip. These include ensuring the validity of their passport – it should not be less than three months if the traveller is heading to any Arab country and six months for a European country. It is also important to make sure that all passports and tickets are with the travellers before starting from home.
He advised travellers to obtain the exit permit (if required) well in advance and reach the airport three hours prior to the flight departure to complete the procedures with ease. He also reminded them of the importance of following the instructions of security personnel and the department’s staff because they always work for the passengers’ benefit.
• Airport passport counters
Captain Nasser Abdul Karim al-Humaidi, head of the Airport Passports Section, asked passengers heading for passport control counters after getting their boarding pass to follow floor marks in front of the counters. There are 78 counters and 22 e-gates.
He also urged travellers to activate the e-gate service on their smart ID cards through Metrash2 or any MoI Services Centre in the country as doing so will help save time and effort.
• Exit permits
Maj Nasser Jaber al-Maliki, head of the Exit Permit Section at the Airport Passports Department, advised travellers to ensure that exit permits have been obtained - for those who require the same - before leaving for the airport. In case of any delay in obtaining the exit permit, personal sponsors can approach the MoI office in the departures lounge to get it issued.
He called on minor Qataris and residents to obtain the exit permit electronically through the Metrash2 mobile app, MoI e-services portal or Hukoomi web portal before heading for the airport or any of the other border posts.
Maj al-Maliki also urged expatriates to check the legal age of their children. Many residents leave for the airport without paying attention to the age of their children and then find out at the passport control counters that their children need an exit permit as they have exceeded 18 years.
• Travel through Abu Samra land border
Capt Adel Alawi al-Yafi, secretary of the Abu Samra border post, urged people travelling by road to ensure the safety of their vehicle, availability of all security facilities and validity of the driver's licence and vehicle permit. He also reminded them that the vehicle should be registered in the passenger’s name or s/he should have authorisation to travel with it.
He noted that Qatari nationals travelling by car through the Abu Samra post should ensure the validity of their passports and those wishing to travel to the other GCC countries using their ID cards need to carry smart ID cards. While exiting the GCC countries, they should use the same travel document that they used to enter that country - whether it is an ID or a passport. They should also ensure there is no travel ban on them, the passports of those travelling with them are valid and they also have valid visas for the destination country.
He added that the main requirements for expatriates are to ensure the validity of their passport - and that it is not damaged - and residence permit, besides obtaining visas for the countries to be visited. They should also check the validity of the passports and residence permits of their family members.
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