What are the new laws for carrying sharp tools in the country?

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The United Arab Emirates has recently introduced changes to its criminal law that now ban carrying of sharp objects or tools. Further, if the said tools or objects are being used in a crime, then the penalty applicable would be double in nature, i.e. the offender will receive a separate penalty for the crime in itself, and additional penalty for carrying the banned objects. The said law has been introduced with the view to ensure heightened form of security in the country.

The UAE has issued the new Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021 on the ‘Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law (the ‘New Penal Code’)’. The new penal code issued on 20 September 2021 abrogates the previously issued Federal law number 3 of 1987 and its amendments and has entered into effect from 02 January 2022. Article 405 of the new penal code specifically states that, ‘Without prejudice to any more severe penalty, any person who is detained in conditions that may constitute a threat to the public security or to the safety of persons or property, while carrying a sharp, cutting, puncturing, crushing, bruising, or piercing equipment or tool, unless by reason of his professional activity or a lawful reason, shall be liable to a jail sentence and a fine or either one of these two penalties’.

With the new changes, a blatant ban has been incorporated on the carrying of objects that can be categorized under the description of ‘sharp, cutting, crushing, puncturing, bruising or piercing tool or equipment’. The banned objects thus include amongst others tools like knives, metal bars, crowbars, hammers, swords etc. The only exception provided to the said rules is if the profession of the person carrying such equipment or tool justifies the said act, wherein the used tool or object should fall within the scope of the normal course of business for the professional activity concerned. Likely professionals that might be exempted in the application of the said law could include butchers, carpenters and the like.

Prior to the said changes, it was an illegal act only when the such object was used to commit a given crime. But, with the new changes merely carrying such equipment without any justifiable cause in itself constitutes a punishable offence. The new law has come into force from the start of the year 2022, and since then an estimate of almost one hundred and thirty-five cases concerning its breach have been registered in the emirate of Dubai alone. This is a staggering number indicating in express terms the extent of this law and the effectiveness of the law enforcement agencies in implementing the said law in all its strictness.

The new changes are part of the preventive approach undertaken by the government, which would now allow police officers to check and question people found carrying such banned objects. Such practices will in all certainty heighten the security in the country and pave way for reduced crimes. Legal experts have viewed the newly introduced changes as a natural progression of the UAE’s legal system that remains focused on providing a safe environment for all.

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