Diplomatic ‘crimes’ halve

The number of serious offences allegedly committed by diplomats declined by 50% over the past year, according to figures released by the Foreign Office.

In a written statement to Parliament, Foreign Secretary David Miliband revealed that diplomats and their family members allegedly committed 10 serious offences in 2008, down from 20 in 2007.

Crimes are defined as those transgressions that would carry a prison sentence of 12 months or more.

Missions whose staff are alleged to have committed a serious offence over the past year include Cameroon, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam, all for drink driving transgressions, while a member of the Cameroon High Commission was also accused of theft.

The decrease follows an FCO policy review in 2006 in which it was decided it was in the public interest to to name and shame missions whose staff were accused of alleged serious offences. Information is withheld only in instances where the mission is so small that the identity of the individual concerned is at risk of disclosure.