x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Fewer Britons in trouble abroad - but not in the UAE

British expatriates in UAE were involved in more arrests and hospitalisations in 2012 than in previous years.

DUBAI // The number of British expatriates arrested or admitted to hospital in the UAE rose last year, the annual British Behaviour Abroad Report shows.

Released today by the UK foreign and commonwealth office, the 2012-2013 report shows consular staff worldwide gave assistance to more than 19,000 Britons in need.

While global figures for assistance provided dropped by 3 per cent, there was a rise in the UAE, India and the Philippines.

This demonstrates “the importance for travellers to respect local laws and customs”, the foreign office said.

The report also showed more Brits in the UAE were admitted to hospital last year. An increase was also recorded in Thailand, Portugal, Australia and India.

There were 3,599 Britons admitted to hospitals outside of the UK in the past year, and more than 6,000 deaths abroad.

A mix of cases were reported, but many involved older expatriates or tourists with pre-existing medical conditions requiring treatment.

The UAE also recorded an increase in arrests and detention, a trend repeated in Canada, Italy and the Netherlands.

Drug offences committed by British nationals overseas dropped to their lowest level in four years, with a decrease of 34 per cent since 2009-2010, while arrests and detentions showed a 21 per cent drop in the same period.

“I encourage all British travellers to do everything they can to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip by taking some basic steps to prepare themselves before departure, including taking out comprehensive travel insurance and researching their destination,” said Mark Simmonds, under secretary of state in the foreign office.

“The priority for our consular staff is the safety and wellbeing of British travellers and we will continue to work, including with other Governments and tour operators, to help to prevent further cases and provide all possible support.”

Consular support includes accompanying people to the police station, helping to deal with local authorities or medical staff, and contacting friends and family at home.

The foreign office has encouraged travellers to check Facebook and Twitter feeds to stay informed about the latest travel advice on www.facebook.com/fcotravel or twitter.com/fcotravel

rtalwar@thenational.ae