This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mark Simmonds):
In 2013, 14 serious and significant offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic immunity in the United Kingdom were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by Diplomatic Protection Group of the Metropolitan Police. Eight of these were driving-related. We define serious offences as those which could, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months imprisonment or more. Also included are drink-driving and driving without insurance.
Some 21,500 people are entitled to diplomatic immunity in the United Kingdom and the majority of diplomats abide by UK law. The number of alleged serious crimes committed by members of the diplomatic community in the UK is proportionately low.
Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, those entitled to immunity are expected to obey the law. The FCO does not tolerate foreign diplomats breaking the law.
We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously. When instances of alleged criminal conduct are brought to our attention by the police, we ask the relevant foreign government to waive diplomatic immunity where appropriate. For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not been granted, we seek the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat.
Alleged serious and significant offences reported to the FCO in 2013 are listed below.
Driving a vehicle reported as lost or stolen and without insurance:
Sierra Leone 1
Driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and without insurance:
El Salvador 1
Driving under the influence of alcohol:
Saudi Arabia 2
Actual Bodily Harm:
Public Order Offence:
Figures for previous years are available in my written statement to the House on 11 July 2013, Official Report, column 32WS.
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