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Are British Backpackers Behaving Abroad?

Friday 5th August 2011

The Foreign Office has released figures on Brits in trouble overseas

The Foreign Office has published a report concerning the number of British holiday makers and backpackers who are injured, or get into trouble while travelling in foreign lands. The report, called ‘Foreign and Commonwealth British Behaviour Abroad’, says that British arrests have fallen by over 10%, and drug arrests by nearly 20% in the past year.

Despite this fall in numbers the Foreign Office still dealt with 5,700 arrests with the highest recorded cases in Spain and the USA. |Drug related arrests are still a problem in many countries however, in particular South America and the Caribbean. The report covers cases around the globe from between 1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011.

Minister for Europe, David Lidington, said:   
“We work hard to warn British nationals about the consequences of breaking the law abroad so it is really encouraging to see the overall number of cases of arrests and drug arrests falling.  But last year there were still 5700 arrests of British nationals overseas.  Prison conditions in some parts of the world can be very poor, overcrowded and, in some cases, dangerous and sentences can be much tougher than in the UK.  People are mistaken if they think the Foreign Office can get you out of jail.  We can’t, but we will work hard to try and ensure your safety, and that you get a fair trial.”

The report also highlighted that 69% of people in Britain don’t research the laws of the country they are visiting before they go abroad which puts them in danger of unwittingly breaking the law.  A third of travellers also don’t realise that if they are arrested they will be prosecuted under local law, not UK law as 6% thought.

The British Behaviour Abroad report also showed that hospitalised numbers of Brits rose to 3,752 despite fewer travellers from the UK going abroad last year. As previous research suggested that 15% of people go abroad with inadequate or no comprehensive travel insurance at all, the Foreign Office is reminding everyone that medical treatment abroad can be very expensive and urges people to make sure they have proper insurance cover.

Find out more about how the Foreign Office can help if you get into trouble abroad, visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel
Follow the Foreign Office on Facebook and Twitter feeds to ensure they are informed of the latest travel advice: www.facebook.com/fcotravel or twitter.com/fcotravel
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