British visitors to Portugal most law abiding abroad

The British Behaviour Abroad report 2014, published today, highlights that while millions of British nationals still travel abroad every year, there has been a decrease in some of the serious types of consular case in the past year.

Of the 20 countries included whereas the number of British visitors to Portugal is the 7th highest at 2,111,000 only 15 were arrested/detained where consular assistance was required, the lowest of all countries. This is down from 27 for 2012/13

The report adds:

Overall in the 20 countries regarding arrests, drug arrests and detentions there was a slight decrease (of 17 cases) –  in the overall number of arrests (total 5418) recorded in 2013/14 compared to the year before. Most cases were handled in Spain (1,389), followed by the USA (1,153) and the United Arab Emirates (261).

Although the total number of arrests globally has decreased, some countries have seen an increase in cases, including the Philippines, Egypt and France.

Drug arrests involving British nationals abroad have increased by 6% to 708, following the significant drop last year (669). However, the number of cases remains low compared to recent years.

Most drug arrests were handled in Spain with 173 cases, a 68% increase on the previous year (103 cases), which may be attributed to an increase in local authority action. The second largest number arrests were recorded in the USA with 102 cases, a 29% decrease on the previous year.

FCO advice: 

Don’t take risks with the law abroad – or you could end up throwing years of your life away in a foreign prison.

Think about what you are doing at all times and trust your instincts – do not take risks that you would not at home. Many countries have a zero-tolerance approach to offences involving drugs and alcohol and sentences can be long.

It is a good idea to research the local laws and customs of the country you are visiting – there may be serious penalties for breaking a law that might seem trivial at home. Advice relating to country-specific local laws and customs can be found at the full report here: