SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY AND SECURITY

CRIME

Violent crime, such as mugging and sexual assault, occurs particularly in larger cities. There have been incidents of passengers being sexually assaulted and robbed when using unlicensed taxis. Consult Transport for London’s Report a crime or incident page for information on what to do if you have been the victim of a crime on the transportation system, including in a taxi.

Report a crime or incident on the transportation system – Transport for London

Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs in:

  • tourist areas
  • airports
  • restaurants
  • pubs and bars
  • underground pedestrian walkways
  • public transportation

Cellphone theft is rampant in tourist areas such as Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square.

Vehicle theft and theft from parked vehicles also occurs, particularly in tourist areas and roadside stops.

  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid isolated areas
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash
  • Be vigilant, particularly in urban areas during the summer months and when walking after dark

SPIKED FOOD AND DRINKS

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as these items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

FRAUD

ATM scams are on the rise in the United Kingdom (U.K.); they can range from simple to sophisticated, sometimes involving hidden electronic devices that obtain account information and personal identification numbers.

To avoid being a victim of fraud:

  • Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • Avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • Cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN and check any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
  • Pay careful attention when cards are being handled by others during payment processing

More on overseas fraud

TERRORISM

There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities.

In the United Kingdom, previous incidents have resulted in casualties. They include random violent incidents in public areas, such as knife and vehicle attacks as well as explosions.

These incidents have occurred mainly in the London area but have also happened elsewhere.

Further attacks in Europe are also likely. Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.

The Government of the United Kingdom maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates threat level changes online and through local media (including social media).

Current terrorism threat levels in the UK – British Home Office

DEMONSTRATIONS AND CIVIL UNREST

Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings taking place
  • Follow the advice of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstration

NORTHERN IRELAND

In Northern Ireland, civil unrest, often associated with Protestant parades through predominantly Catholic neighbourhoods, may occur during the Orange Order summer marching season (April to August). Expect possible delays and disruptions in some areas during the weeks leading up to July 12, the day Protestants celebrate their victory at the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.

Exercise caution during the summer marching season and follow the advice of local authorities.

ROAD SAFETY

Roads are excellent but are often narrow and congested (especially in urban areas).

Use caution when entering a traffic circle (roundabout). Pedestrians should use caution when crossing streets and be mindful that traffic is usually coming from the opposite direction than what they may be used to.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Public transportation is excellent and extensive.

TAXIS

Only use officially licensed marked taxis.

TRAINS

Delays may occur on train routes, including Eurostar trains, due to track repairs or flooding.

DELAYS AT PORTS OF ENTRY

Expect delays also at airports and other ports of entry due to stringent security screening measures.

AIR TRAVEL

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

MOUNTAIN OR TREKKING ACTIVITIES

If you intend to do mountaineering or trekking:

  • never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes

Scottish Avalanche Information Service