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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

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

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.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

London Security : Bogus Police Officers

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Groups of criminals sometimes pose as police officers, particularly in the central London area, in order to trick people and steal their money, credit cards and valuables. These individuals wear ordinary clothes and use fake Police IDs to search people and take what they can. If you are stopped by a police officer, ALWAYS ask to see their Police ID.

The ID card will always have:

Photograph of the officer

Name

Identity number

Metropolitan Police Service hologram

It is always worth remembering that police officers would rarely search visitors or tourists unless they suspected some wrong doing. Those that do search are likely to be wearing uniforms and must give you certain information. If you suspect the police officers is bogus, check their ID very closely and demand to see a policeman in uniform. Real police will never confiscate your private property especially money, credit cards and valuables in this manner.

Real Police officers have the right to stop and search anyone but will only do so if they If they think you’re carrying a weapon, drugs, stolen property, or articles to commit criminal damage, if there has been serious violence or disorder in the vicinity or as part of anti-terrorism efforts.

The police officer or police community support officer must explain why you are being stopped, A police community support officer must be in uniform. A police officer does not have to be in uniform but if they are not wearing uniform and they search you they must show you their warrant card.

The police who stop and search you must provide you with certain information including:

Their name and the station where they work (unless the search is in relation to suspected terrorist activity or giving his or her name may place the officer in danger. They must then give a warrant card or identification number)

The law under which you have been stopped

Your rights

Why you have been stopped and searched

Why they chose you

What they are looking for

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Security : Distraction robberies in coffee shops, bars and restaurants

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One of the most common robberies that visitors are likely to come across are distraction ones. In Britain or London in particular , it is very unusual for people to go up to complete strangers and if you are approached be on your guard. It may be innocent but make sure you keep your valuables close by and don’t leave items such as mobile phones on the table. The following report shows some of the latest tactics:

The City of London Police is warning people who visit coffee shops, bars and restaurants to be mindful when leaving their valuables on tables. Thieves are purposely targeting customers by distracting them and stealing their mobile phones and other valuable items.

On 16 March a man entered a fast food chain restaurant on Cannon Street EC4, and stole a mobile phone from a table from where the victim was eating. He placed a prop on top of the mobile and engaged the victim in conversation. The suspect then distracted the victim by making hand gestures towards his mouth whilst at the same time picking up the mobile phone from under his prop. He then walked off with the victim’s mobile phone.

Since January there have been 32 distraction thefts in the City of London with 14 of these in coffee shops. There were eight thefts in bars and another eight in restaurants. There was one distraction theft in the street and another in an office.

The majority of distraction thefts are occurring between 11.30am and 3pm on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays.

The most common trick used by thieves is to place a prop, such as a map, on top of the item they want to steal on the table where the victim is sat. They then speak to the victim usually asking them for directions. This distracts the victim and the thief picks up the item hidden underneath the prop and walks out of the premises.

Another distraction technique used is when a thief squirts a liquid substance on their victim and pretends to help them clean it off. The thief then pats down the victim giving them access to pockets to steal wallets, phones and other items.

City of London Police Detective Inspector Doug Blackwood said: “Thieves will use all the tricks in the book to get their hands on people’s valuable items. They will visit several coffee shops, bars and restaurants and target people who leave their items, such as mobile phones on tables.

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security : Illegal gambling scams on London’s bridges

gambling scam

Many of the scams are variations on a particular theme and have been around for years. One of the oldest scams is ‘Find the Lady’ or ‘cup and ball’ where you are invited to bet on where the ball is located under three cups. A recent case involving City of London Police suggest there are still scamsters trying  this  on London bridges.

Public warned to avoid illegal gambling scams on London’s bridges

The City of London Police are warning Londoners, and particularly tourists, about gambling scams taking place in London on some of our most iconic bridges.​

Two men were charged under section 33 of the Gambling Act on Sunday 15 March after off-duty City of London Police officer Insp Harley witnessed a group of men undertaking a ‘cup and ball’ game on Tower Bridge.

The game works by the gang targeting tourists to get them to try and predict which cup the plastic ball will be under.

Community Policing Insp Harley witnessed suspects encouraging members of the public to participate in playing the game. This is done to entice unsuspecting members of the public to gamble money with no chance of winning.

City of London Police Inspector Harley said “These games are not a matter of chance, but are fixed to ensure members of the public do not win.

“Our community policing officers will continue to work with the City of London Corporation and our neighbouring boroughs to target this criminal activity.” ​​​

It pays to be extra vigilant on bridges which are often considered safe ground by many beggars, scamsters and musicians because they do not seem to fall within any local authorities jurisdiction, however they are patrolled by police and if you spot suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed police officer.

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security : Cash Machine Scams

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Unfortunately one of the more common crimes in London are related to cash machines. The following case follows the usual scenario of the criminal putting something in the cash machine to make it seem that it is stuck.  However  it does highlight that even if the criminal gets your card, it is far easier for them if they get your pin. People usually stand back from the person at the cash machine, if you have someone close to you and looking over your shoulder, cover the keyboard with your hand to prevent them seeing your pin.

Cash machine fraudster jailed for 12 months

A 41-year-old man has received a 12 month prison sentence after pleading guilty at the City of London Magistrates court (20 February) to a series of cash machine frauds in the City of London.

A man was arrested on 30 October 2014, by City of London Police officers after he was seen removing a card trap device also known as a Lebanese loop from a cash machine using a pair of tweezers at St Paul’s Churchyard. He was also found with seven more card traps on him.

Following his arrest, CCTV enquiries helped City of London Police officers identify the man committing several other thefts of bank cards from cash machines between 30 September 2014 and 31 October 2014.

The man worked with others, placing card trap devices onto cash machines. He would watch his victims as they attempted to withdraw cash and then discover that their cards were trapped in the machine. Following their departure from the machine he would retrieve the card from the machine and use their PIN number which he had seen them enter.

On six occasions the man used several stolen bank cards to withdraw £4373.84 in cash from the victim’s bank accounts.

City of London Police officer, Dominic Shaw said “ The man was very sophisticated in placing card trap devices on cash machines and shoulder surfing.

“Over a month’s period, he worked with others to fraudulently obtain thousands of pounds leaving the banks with a bill to pay to those who had their money stolen from their bank accounts.

“It would not have been possible to identify the man without the co-operation of all the banks involved. I would like to thank them for their assistance in helping us with our investigation.

“I would also like to remind people to always cover their PIN number when using a cash machine and to look over their shoulder to see if anyone is acting suspicious.

“If you see anything suspicious or believe a cash machine is being tampered with, please report to the police.” ​​​​​

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security : Police Impersonators

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One of the more unusual scams is criminals impersonating a police officer,  this report by the City of London police involves a case where the supposed police officer checks for counterfeit money.  This would never happen with real police officers who would be very careful in dealing with a visitors personal items especially cash and credit cards. If you were suspected of a crime, the usual routine would be you would be taken to the local police station. Plain clothes policeman should have identification and must show it if they want to carry out a search. If you are approached by a policeman in this type of case and are suspicious, demand to be taken to the local station or find a uniformed officer before you give any items over to the person.

Police impersonator who stole from London’s tourists sentenced to ten months in jail

The man was part of an organised crime group who targeted victims by posing as tourists and police officers.One of the gang would pose as a fake tourist and then approach a genuine tourist asking for directions using a map. This encounter gave an opportunity for a fake police officer to intervene so that he can then search the genuine tourist for counterfeit money.

The police impersonator uses a UV torch to scan over cash and will use an official identity card as a fake warrant card. During the search, the fake officer will take items such as cash, identity cards, bank cards, personal items and sometimes demand the victims pin for their bank cards.

On 28 January 2014 City of London Police officers arrested the man on suspicion of going equipped to steal. He was dressed in smart clothes and was accompanied by another man impersonating a tourist, with a camera around his neck. Following a search by City of London Police officers the man was found in possession with an identity card in a black wallet alongside a photo card that flipped out of the main wallet giving the appearance of some type of official document.

He also had a small key ring style torch, a pair of Nokia mobile phone earphones that had one of the earphones removed which was dangling from an inside jacket pocket.

The camera was non functional and was believed to be a prop.

City of London Police Inspector Doug Blackwood Said, “These men deliberately preyed on innocent tourists who were not familiar with police procedures in the UK. This made them easy targets to this type of scam.

“What was meant to be an enjoyable and unforgettable visit to London had instead turned out to be a nightmare for many of the victims. They left London with the memory of the man stealing their money and personal belongings.

“I hope today’s sentencing acts as a warning to those predators who wish to come into the City and prey on innocent victims. ​​​​​​

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here