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Security in London – Visitors Checklist

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The Metropolitan Police offers plenty of sensible advice to visitors which will severely reduce your chances of being a victim of crime.

Top 5 most vulnerable locations

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

Insurance: always travel with sufficient travel insurance and check the small print in your policy to ensure you are fully covered for loss of valuables or any medical costs or repatriation.

Cash: try not to carry large amounts of cash or valuables. If you must carry cash and expensive items be discreet in public. Wherever possible, carry cash substitutes such as prepaid cards or credit cards. Consider wearing a money belt or ankle pouch. Keep a written record of your credit and bank card numbers, and always keep them in a safe place.

Passports: always keep your passport and travel documents safe and have a copy their serial numbers so that if they are lost or stolen you can report them immediately and get a replacement. It’s a good idea to write down the contact number of your Embassy or Consulate if you need support and advice.

Luggage: never leave your luggage unattended even for a few seconds. Always keep bags in your possession and close to you. Clearly mark all your luggage with your identification and contact number or e-mail and include identification on the inside of your luggage. Try to lock or secure zippers or use a strap around your case or bag to make it difficult for someone to gain access.

Hotels: choose your hotel with care, go for one with a sound reputation, good reviews and security. Never leave valuables in your hotel room instead put your valuables in the hotel safe or with hotel safe-deposit box services.

Mobile phones, cameras and laptops: these items are desirable to thieves so always keep them close and never unattended on a table or in your hotel room. It’s a good idea to keep records of serial numbers and make and model details in case you need to claim on insurance.

Pickpockets: be aware of pickpockets, keep your wallets and purses close to you at all times. Be wary of staged distractions such as street performers and street gamblers if you are jostled, bumped, hugged or crowded by anyone, consider that a pickpocket may be in action. If your pocket is picked, call out immediately for assistance and warn others.

Road safety: take extra care when crossing the road. Always try to cross at marked crossing points and remember to look both ways as traffic including cycles may be coming from a different direction than you are used to.

Cycling on one of the famous “Boris Bikes” in London can be a great way to see the sights but be particularly careful in traffic and don’t get too close to buses and large vehicles as they often turn suddenly and may not see you. Remember that in England we drive on the left side of the road.

Sightseeing: it’s a good idea to have a map or travel guide with you so you can orientate yourself. Keep a note of your hotel details so that if you do get lost you can make your way back to where you started. 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.

Taxis: only use Taxis or registered minicabs it’s a good idea to plan your route before you leave. See related link –  Transport for London website

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