London is one of the most interesting and exciting capital cities in the world attracting millions of visitors each year. It’s also one of the safest.
As in any large, busy city, however, crime can sometimes be a problem so you do need to take care about personal safety and looking after your belongings. These pages give advice on what you can do to make your visit to London safer and more enjoyable.
In your hotel
- Avoid leaving valuables in your room – keep them in the hotel safety box or safe. Keep a record of your personal belongings such as cameras, credit cards, passports and travellers cheques. Note down the numbers – it may help police to identify them if they do get lost or stolen.
- When you leave the hotel, make sure the door of your room is firmly closed. Always hand your key in to the reception staff or use the key box – don’t leave it on the reception desk.
- Remember that hotel lobbies and reception areas are open to the public so don’t leave your bags or any valuables lying on the floor unattended at any time.
Out and about
- Keep your bag or camera where you can see them by wearing them in front of you, not over your shoulder. This is especially important if you are in a crowded area such as on a bus or an underground train.
- 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.
- Only buy theatre or concert tickets from reliable sources and not from ‘touts’ in the street.
- If you’re out and about at night on foot try to keep to busy, well-lit areas.
- When travelling by bus or train try to avoid using stations in isolated places. When possible sit near the driver on buses, and on trains try to make sure you sit in a compartment where there are other people.
- Only use taxis that have been licensed. These are easily recognised by a licence on display.
- Take extra care when crossing the road. Always remember to look both ways as traffic may be coming from a different direction than you are expecting.
Weapons and drugs
- Be aware that it is a criminal offence to carry weapons such as knives and guns in the UK.
- Unlike some other European countries, it is also illegal to carry CS spray.
- Remember that it is against the law to be in possession of ‘classified’ drugs this includes cannabis, marijuana and hashish.
- Although few in number there are some types of bars in the Soho area of the West End that you may wish to avoid. These bars sometimes advertise sex shows and may charge very high prices for non-alcoholic drinks, often served by hostesses. In addition to the cost of your drinks, you may also be charged for the company of the hostesses and the drinks consumed by them. So be aware of what sort of premises you are entering and if in doubt don’t go in.
- You may be approached by persons offering sexual services for money. They will ask for money first and then make an excuse to leave telling you to meet them shortly at a nearby address. You should have nothing to do with them. You will most likely never see them or your money again. If you do get caught, report it at once to the local police who will deal with the matter sympathetically.
Knowing how and where criminals who commit these crimes operate and by being aware of your surroundings will help you avoid becoming a victim.
1. Transport hubs and stations.
2. Crowded places / rush hour
3. ATM and cash machine locations
4. Cafés, restaurants, pubs and clubs.
5. Schools, colleges and universities
Remember the police are there to help you. If anything does go wrong and your possessions are lost or stolen then contact the police at the earliest opportunity.
IN AN EMERGENCY REQUIRING POLICE, FIRE OR AMBULANCE SERVICE DIAL 999