Half of all the arrests made in foreign countries of British nationals are for those under 34 and almost exclusively due to outlandish alcohol consumption or drug offenses.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Author: Jolyon Attwooll
The number of Britons arrested or detained overseas has increased by six per cent in the past year, new Foreign Office figures show.
Between April 2011 and March 2012, there were 6,015 arrests involving British nationals, compared to 5,700 in the previous year.
There were 1,909 arrests in Spain, more than in any other country. The next highest number occurred in the US, where authorities reported 1,305 arrests of British nationals.
The Foreign Office said many of the incidents were due to high alcohol consumption in popular holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands, Majorca, Ibiza and the Costa del Sol.
Spain and the US also saw the highest number of drug-related cases, although proportionally this problem was more significant in Jamaica, Serbia, Peru and Brazil, where more than 70 per cent of arrests were drug related.
David Thomas, director of the British Consul in Madrid, said: “The police on Majorca and Ibiza have a zero tolerance attitude towards alcohol-fuelled offences and we see many young people being arrested for causing trouble outside bars and clubs at night.”
Jeremy Browne, Consular Affairs Minister, said: “It is important that people understand that taking risks abroad can land them on the wrong side of the law.
“The punishments can be very severe, with tougher prison conditions than in the UK. While we will work hard to try and ensure the safety of British nationals abroad, we cannot interfere in another country’s legal system.
“We find that many people are shocked to discover that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cannot get them out of jail.”
The statistics were released ahead of the peak summer holiday season to highlight the potential risks of taking a break abroad – particularly for younger travellers. Around half of the total arrests involved people aged less than 34.
However, despite this year’s rise, the latest figures are 15 per cent lower than they were in 2008/9, when there were 6,919 arrests of Britons abroad.
Number of British arrests for 2011/12
* Figures based on visitor numbers provided by individual country authorities
**Source: IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) 2010 Figure based on Brits living in country for a year or longer
***Visitor figures provided by the individual country authorities
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