Do not carry your passport around with you. Make a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a separate place or send the copies overseas to family/friends.
Always carry with you a tube/bus map, emergency telephone numbers and your UK address/telephone number.
When out late, make sure you know what train, tube line, night bus or taxi number you will use to get home.
When in bars and restaurants, NEVER accept any free drinks from anyone or leave your drinks unattended.
Do not hitch-hike.
When using taxis, only take a black cab or taxi from a number in the telephone book Yellow Pages.
Avoid walking through isolated areas or taking shortcuts down narrow/dark alleys. Always to try to walk facing on-coming traffic. If you are threatened, run away.
When travelling by car, keep it filled with petrol and stay on main roads. When you park, keep the car locked (with valuables in the boot) and use well-lit areas or ‘secure car parking’ (ask your local police station for a list of these car parks).
Do not carry large amounts of cash around with you.
Keep your cheque-book, credit cards and cash machine cards in a safe place. If you have a cheque guarantee card, keep it separate from the cheque-book. Do not write down your PIN number or tell it to anyone. Keep a separate record of your card numbers in case they get stolen.
Do not leave your bag, wallet or purse unattended in any public building, car, shop or on your bicycle.
Enjoying London - A Police Guide for Visitors
London is one of the most interesting and exciting capital cities in the world attracting millions of visitors each year. It's also one of the safest.
As in any large, busy city, however, crime can sometimes be a problem so you do need to take care about personal safety and looking after your belongings. These pages give advice on what you can do to make your visit to London safer and more enjoyable.
In your hotel
Avoid leaving valuables in your room - keep them in the hotel safety box or safe. Keep a record of your personal belongings such as cameras, credit cards, passports and travellers cheques. Note down the numbers - it may help police to identify them if they do get lost or stolen.
When you leave the hotel, make sure the door of your room is firmly closed. Always hand your key in to the reception staff or use the key box - don't leave it on the reception desk.
Remember that hotel lobbies and reception areas are open to the public so don't leave your bags or any valuables lying on the floor unattended at any time.
Out and about
Keep your bag or camera where you can see them by wearing them in front of you, not over your shoulder. This is especially important if you are in a crowded area such as on a bus or an underground train.
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.
When travelling by bus or train try to avoid using stations in isolated places. When possible sit near the driver on buses, and on trains try to make sure you sit in a compartment where there are other people.
Only use taxis that have been licensed by the police. These are easily recognised by a licence on display and the driver wearing a badge.
Take extra care when crossing the road. Always remember to look both ways as traffic may be coming from a different direction than you are expecting.
Weapons and drugs
Be aware that it is a criminal offence to carry weapons such as knives and guns in the UK.
Unlike some other European countries it is also illegal to carry CS spray.
Remember that it is against the law to be in possession of 'classified' drugs this includes cannabis, marijuana and hashish.
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 you do get caught, report it at once to the local police who will deal with the matter sympathetically.
Remember the police are there to help you. If anything does go wrong and your possessions are lost or stolen then contact the police at the earliest opportunity
A brief message from Sergeant Edwin.
Hi there - my name is Edwin and I am a Sergeant in the Dallas Police Department. I was sent to London to research policing in immigrant communities in London. I am now writing a little about personal safety and security in London in order to try and answer some of the most frequently asked questions by the Welcome2London www visitors. I have been in London for two months already, and have one month to go before finishing my research and returning to Dallas at the end of July 1999.
p Q- Are there Pick pockets in London.?
Yes, mainly in central London where it gets very crowded during rush hour. Just as in most large cities throughout the world, pick pockets operate in groups and are usually very fast and efficient. So if you carry your wallet in your back pocket or have your wallet in your back pack, beware !
Q- Where else should I be aware of thieves?
The most common theft happens in restaurants and pubs, especially in central London where thieves prey on tourists. If you put your bag on the floor you may lose it.
Q- Is it safe at night?
Unlike some large US cities, you will see people walking late at night just about everywhere in London.
The ideal thing to do is to go out in groups since there is strength in numbers.
Q- Are there NO GO areas in London?
The police in London do an excellent job of keeping people safe, no matter what part of town you are in.
However, just like anywhere else, if you are looking for trouble you can find it. A little common sense goes a long way.
Q- Violent crime?
Unlike other countries, guns in the UK are illegal, which makes policing a bit easier. Most police officers don't carry guns. Violent crime is considerably lower than the US, or South Africa ( I have never been there but have heard from other South African guests that South Africa is pretty violent).
Q- What shall I do if somebody steals my wallet or purse from a restaurant?
You inform the Manager of the Restaurant who will dial 999 and ask for the Police, you will need a crime reference number in case you need to claim anything from your travel insurance, keep the crime number handy and don't forget to cancel your credit cards straight away, don't wait till the morning.
Q- If my camera got stolen what are my chances to recover the camera?
Just like any big city, the chance is from slim to nothing, claim it from the insurance company and put it down to experience. Nowadays you can buy a very good and efficient camera for 30 pounds, so don't make a big fuss about it.
Q- Is travel insurance really necessary ?
It is highly advisable to organize insurance, even if you are only visiting for one week. Chances are you won't need to
make a claim but just in case you do you'll be much better off. If you are bringing laptops or expensive camera
equipment then I would recommend it.
Q- A few words of advice.....
When you're out and about in London try not to look like a tourist. Yeah I can hear you laughing, but - the more you
look like a local the less trouble you are likely to have. Don't wear your cameras around your neck or over your
shoulder, if you must - wear them inside a jacket. The same goes for bum bags, they are then less obvious and accessible. For a girl on her own carrying a personal alarm can give a bit of confidence and may come handy.