British Nationals Abroad: Arrests

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 15th November 2011.

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Photo of Martin Horwood Martin Horwood Liberal Democrat, Cheltenham

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK citizens were arrested in each other EU member state in each of the last 20 years; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

In the following financial years, the numbers of British nationals requiring consular assistance after arrest in EU member states were:

2008-09 3,481
2009-10 3,138
2010-11 2,662

This information was not collated on a central database before 2008. To break down the above figures into each EU member state would incur a disproportionate cost.

Supporting British nationals in difficulty around the world is a priority for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This support is explained in our publication ‘Support for British nationals abroad: A guide’, available on the FCO website at:

When British nationals are arrested, our role is to provide information about the local legal system, including the availability of local English-speaking lawyers, and to support the welfare of the detainee.

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