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Title: Brits abroad were most likely to be arrested in Spain
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Brits abroad were most likely to be arrested in Spain last year, with a total of 1,745 detained in the year ending March 2011. British expat...

Brits abroad were most likely to be arrested in Spain last year, with a total of 1,745 detained in the year ending March 2011.

British expats and holidaymakers in Spain were also most likely to need consular assistance.

However, proportionate to visitor numbers, the place Britons were more likely to be arrested was Thailand, according to new figures.


Mayhem: Brits abroad are most likely to be arrested, hospitalised and need consular assistance in Spain

The total number of arrests worldwide reached 5,700 last year, dipping slightly from 6,439 the previous year and 6,919 in 2008-09.

But while the number of arrests fell, the figures released by the Foreign Office show that Britons are getting into other difficulties while on holiday or living abroad.

More Britons required hospital treatment abroad, even though the number of visits fell.

 

TROUBLE HOTSPOTS TOP 20
COUNTRY
CONSULAR ASSISTANCE CASES
ARRESTS
SPAIN
4,971
1,745
US
1,673
1,272
FRANCE
1,283
159
THAILAND
967
200
GREECE
797
112
GERMANY
670
108
CYPRUS
562
150
TURKEY
454
79
AUSTRALIA
443
125
PORTUGAL
418
28
UAE
382
217
ITALY
349
40
INDIA
338
27
EGYPT
322
34
CHINA
309
131
PAKISTAN
245
28
CANADA
234
100
SWITZERLAND
191
10
PHILIPPINES
171
16
SWEDEN
167
85
There was a slight increase in the total number of Britons who died abroad, 5,972 up from 5,930 in 2009-10 and 5,629 in 2008-09.

But despite the risk of expensive medical treatment and repatriation, as many as one in six Britons still travel abroad uninsured.

Furthermore, two-thirds of Britons do not always find out the laws of the country they are visiting before they go, leaving them at risk for such exotic crimes as wearing camouflage in Barbados, wearing a bikini in the streets of Barcelona and making satirical jokes about the Thai royal family.

Should they get caught out, 32 per cent of Britons are not aware that they would be prosecuted under local law if they broke the rules away from home, a poll from the Foreign Office found.

Six per cent thought they would be prosecuted under UK law, 22 per cent believed it would depend on the country they were in and four per cent admitted to not knowing at all.

Minister for Europe David Lidlington 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.

‘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.


There may be trouble: Some 32 per cent of Britons do not know they would be prosecuted under local law if they broke regulations while abroad

‘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 countries with the majority of drug arrests included Jamaica, Norway, Argentina, Brazil, Serbia and Peru. The poll of 2,000 UK adults found that 43 per cent of 18-24 year olds knew someone who had taken illegal drugs while abroad.


Kept busy: The Spanish police must have their hands full with 1,745 Britons arrested in Spain last year alone

The number of sexual assaults on Britons abroad rose from 140 to 163, but the number of rapes fell from 132 to 155.

Proportionately Britons were most likely to be sexually assaulted in Egypt, followed by Turkey.

Some 25,969 Britons lost or had their passports stolen last year, a decrease from 27,272 in the previous year.


Not always idyllic: Tourists were most likely to die in the Philippines last year, 84 per cent through natural causes

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