§ Lord Graham of Edmonton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many serious offences were committed in the United Kingdom in 1996 by persons entitled to immunity; and how many foreign diplomats or members of their families were withdrawn from their posts in the United Kingdom in the past year as a result of alleged ofences.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)
From a diplomatic community of over 17,000 persons, 34 alleged serious offences by persons entitled to immunity were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1996. "Serious offences" are defined in accordance with the Report to the Foreign Affairs CommitteeThe Abuse of Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges (1985) as offences which fall into the category which in certain circumstances attract a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment or more: the majority involved drinking and driving and shoplifting.
Six diplomats or members of their families were withdrawn at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's request from posts in the United Kingdom as a result of alleged offences, compared with five the previous year.