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London Security : Metropolitan Police – Visitor Advice

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What are the laws regarding weapons and drugs?

Possession of any of these items could mean that you are arrested.  Be aware that it is a criminal offence to carry weapons such as knives and guns in the UK. Unlike some European and other countries it is also illegal to carry CS or pepper spray.

Remember that it is against the law to be in possession of ‘classified’ drugs and this includes cannabis, marijuana and hashish.

How do I contact the Emergency Services ?

If it’s a genuine emergency and you require police, ambulance, or the fire department telephone 999 or 112. These numbers are free to call. Try to make sure you know your location so help can be with you as soon as possible.

To report non-urgent crime, contact your local police by calling 101 from within the UK.

What advice would you give to tourists about having a safe night out in London?

A. 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 this happens to you, report it at once to the local police who will deal with the matter sympathetically.

At any restaurant, pub or bar make sure you keep your property close to you. Many venues have clips under the tables, use them to secure your handbag or briefcase and try not to leave them over the back of your chair. Remember not to leave you mobile phone, camera or laptop in open view on the table as you could be distracted and this will provide a thief an opportunity to target these items.

Be wary of taking a drink from a stranger that you haven’t seen prepared in front of you. Never leave your drink unattended even for a moment and if it doesn’t taste right don’t finish it.

If you or your party start to feel strange or unwell then you should get help and seek medical advice.

Be aware of fraud when using bank cards and credit cards. Always keep your card in your possession and never let anyone see your PIN.

When using a street ATM or cash machine be aware of who may be around you, be wary of anyone who approaches you as they may try to distract or pick your pockets.

If your card is retained by the machine report this immediately to the bank and your card provider.

What is your advice about traveling at night on public transport in London?

It’s a good idea to plan how you will get home by checking the time of the last train, bus or tube back to your accommodation.

On a double-decker night bus, sit downstairs or close to the driver where they can see you. Likewise avoid sitting in an empty carriage on trains and the Underground.

Always use a licensed taxi – check the back of the taxi to ensure it carries an official licence plate.

Minicabs that stop in the street are illegal and unsafe, always book a cab from a licensed minicab office or over the phone.

We recommend that you avoid walking alone at night in places such as parks and side streets or any unfamiliar environment instead if you must walk stick to busy places where there is a lot of activity, CCTV and good lighting.

How do I stay safe within the hotel?

When you arrive at your accommodation, familiarise yourself with the location of fire extinguishers, fire exits, assembly points and evacuation routes.  Avoid leaving valuables and travel documents in your room and if you have valuables use the safe or hotel deposit services. Make sure your room door and windows are closed and locked when you leave.

I am concerned about terrorism, what should I do if I see something suspicious?

Whilst the risk is low everyone should remain vigilant particularly at major crowded events, at transport hubs and shopping centres. It is especially important that you never leave your bag unattended as this could cause a security alert.

If you are attending a conference avoid wearing your pass outside of the venue and try to meet people in a public area of the hotel or conference area.

It may be nothing, but if you see or hear anything that could be terrorist-related trust your instincts and call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 and specially trained officers will take it from there.

In an emergency call 999. If an incident occurs please follow the directions of the emergency services and uniformed staff.

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