HL Deb 11 July 1994 vol 556 c1515

3.2 p.m.

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they were consulted by the Spanish authorities about new measures to protect foreign tourists from crime in popular resorts in Spain.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, there is no need for consultation on routine matters of security. The Spanish authorities take these measure annually to protect tourists from crime in the popular resorts of Spain. The measures, which were introduced in 1989, involve the transfer of some 3,000 police officers from the inland area of the mainland to the main tourist areas.

Lord Campbell of Croy

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for that Answer. Are not these measures, which were announced last year, special measures, including the use of many more police officers? Is not this good news for British holiday-makers and for the consular officers who must cope with many of the problems arising from robbed British tourists? Will the British and Spanish Governments consider in a few months time whether there have been better results this year?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, this is simply a continuation of the 1989 plan to protect foreign tourists. The police officers are in the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and on the mainland of Spain. Indeed, the exercise has been successful, as the immediate former consular officer from Malaga told me only this morning. Our embassy in Madrid and the consulates throughout Spain keep in close touch with the police and the Spanish authorities and they will continue to do so. The situation appears to be improving year by year and that must continue.

Baroness Blackstone

My Lords, can the Minister tell the House what the charges are for replacing stolen passports in consulates in Spain? Do those charges cover the costs? If not, is not that a matter that should be looked into?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, without notice of the specific point, I cannot say with certainty what the charges are. However, they must cover their costs, which is a matter that we have followed up year by year. The consulates try to ensure that people take action which will prevent them having their passports stolen. It is remarkable how careless people can be: if they were more careful at the beginning they would not incur the cost of replacement.