§ Baroness Pitkeathley
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many serious offences were committed in 1997 by persons entitled to immunity from prosecution. [HL2499]
§ Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean
From a diplomatic community of over 17,000 persons, 17 alleged serious offences by persons entitled to immunity were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1997. "Serious offences" are defined in accordance with the report to the Foreign Affairs Committee,The 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.
In relation to this Question, I refer my noble friend to the Answer I gave to the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, on 1 June (WA15–16) that one diplomat was withdrawn at the department's request from his post in the United Kingdom as a result of alleged offences, compared with six the previous year.