Brits abroad: from lost passports to drug offences
18 July 2014 09:09
A few simple steps of preparation can cut the risk of getting into trouble abroad, say ministers
Figures have revealed how many Britons lose their passport, need hospital treatment and get arrested while on holidays abroad.
The number of Britons arrested abroad for drug offences last year totalled 708, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) figures show.
This is a rise on the previous year, when the figure stood at 669.
A breakdown of the 2013/14 data shows 173 arrests were in Spain - up around two-thirds on a year earlier. An increase in local authority action may have been a contributing factor to this, the FCO said.
Despite the rise, the FCO maintained that last year's drug arrests were low compared with previous years.
And taking into account all offences involving Britons, the number of arrests overseas saw a slight fall from 5,435 in 2012/13 to 5,418 last year.
What else did the FCO figures reveal about Brits abroad last year?
From lost passports to hospital treatment, here are a few of the other FCO figures.
The most cases where Britons needed consular assistance were in Spain, followed by the USA, Thailand, France and Greece
- There were 17,517 consular assistance cases, compared with 19,244 in the previous 12 months
- The number of Britons needing hospital treatment fell from 3,599 in 2012/13 to 3,157 in 2013/14
- And there were 31,134 cases of lost or stolen passports.
What the experts say - take out comprehensive travel insurance and do your research
As the summer holidays approach and millions of people across the country look to embark on a trip abroad, Consular Affairs Minister Mark Simmonds reinforces the message that anyone who faces difficulties will be offered support by consular staff.
He adds: "This year's report has highlighted some encouraging downwards trends, and this allows our staff to concentrate more on supporting our most vulnerable customers. However, the FCO continues to help thousands of British nationals who get into trouble overseas every year."
He stresses that many travellers can limit the risk of getting into trouble by carrying out a few simple steps before leaving the country, such as t aking out comprehensive travel insurance.
Mr Simmonds also advises that holidaymakers should research the country and health risks beforehand and make an extra effort to behave responsibly upon reaching their destination "to ensure that you remember your holiday for the right reasons".