x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Twin attacks on Emiratis prompt UK police to caution London visitors

UAE nationals took to Twitter to voice their concerns about visiting the London, with #london_is_not_safe trending on the social media platform. But Scotland Yard says there are safety precautions that visitors should abide by.

Arab women in Trafalgar Square. London has been a popular tourist destination for Arabs, and about 300,000 have made the capital their home. Summer visitors from abroad swell this number significantly. Peter Dench / Getty Images
Arab women in Trafalgar Square. London has been a popular tourist destination for Arabs, and about 300,000 have made the capital their home. Summer visitors from abroad swell this number significantly. Peter Dench / Getty Images

ABU DHABI // British police have reminded visitors to London of basic safety advice when out and about in the capital.

The reminder comes after an Emirati and his wife were attacked in their London apartment by masked robbers on Tuesday.

It was the second attack on UAE nationals in the city this month.

As Emiratis took to Twitter yesterday to voice their concerns about visiting the capital – with #london_is_not_safe trending on the social-media platform – Scotland Yard said there were safety tips that anyone visiting London should abide by.

“London is one of the most interesting and exciting capital cities in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year. It is also one of the safest,” a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said.

“As in any large, busy city, however, crime can sometimes be a problem so you do need to take care about personal safety.”

When in a hotel, police urge travellers to avoid leaving valuables in the room and keep them in the hotel safety box or safe.

Travellers should also keep a record of personal belongings, such as cameras, credit cards, passports and note down any serial numbers as it may help police to identify them if they did get lost or stolen.

When people leave the hotel, they should make sure the door is closed and always hand in the key to reception staff or use the key box – do not leave it on the reception desk.

Travellers should also remember that hotel lobbies and reception areas were open to the public and were advised not to leave bags or valuables lying on the floor unattended.

When out – especially in crowded areas, such as on a bus or the London Underground – visitors should keep bags or cameras where they can see them by wearing them in front of the body, not over a shoulder.

When in restaurants, bars, theatres or cinemas, never leave your bag on the floor or over the back of your chair – keep it where you can see it, the police spokesman said.

When out at night on foot try to keep to busy, well-lit areas. When travelling by bus or train try to avoid stations in isolated places. When possible, sit near the driver on buses and on trains, try to make sure you sit near other people.

“Remember, the police are there to help you,” the Met spokesman said. “If anything does go wrong and your possessions are lost or stolen then contact the police at the earliest opportunity.”

In an emergency, travellers should always call 999.

A seven-member gang broke down the door of the couple’s flat at about 1.30am on Tuesday, armed with guns, knives and hammers.

The robbers threatened the family and took their money, jewellery and credit cards.

In an apparently unrelated attack on April 6, three Emirati sisters were attacked in their London hotel room by a man with a hammer.

Twitter users yesterday spoke of their fear over the two attacks in recent weeks, with many asking police to step up their presence on the streets.

London is one of the world’s most visited cities. According to official figures by the Office for National Statistics, for the first nine months last year, oversees visitor figures rose to 12.8 million, an increase of 12 per cent compared with 2012.

jbell@thenational.ae