London is a vibrant city with incredible cultural, entertainment and shopping opportunities. We want your visit to the UK’s capital city to be a safe one, and for you not to become a victim of crime. Officers from London’s Met work hard 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help protect you. However, we also want you to know the ways to help keep yourself safe.
Stay safe from street robbery
Look up and look out. You should always be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables and mobile phone hidden. Try to avoid wearing headphones as this reduces awareness of your surroundings. If you wear a valuable wristwatch try to keep it hidden by your sleeve. It is not a good idea to carry large amounts of cash on your person. Instead, look at other options for storing it safely.
Be alert near roads
Criminals use mopeds, bikes and E-scooters to snatch phones and other valuables. They may ride along the pavement or target you at road crossings. When walking, face towards oncoming traffic. This will help you spot someone leaving the roadway and approaching you.
Beware of pickpockets
Keep your wallet and valuables close to you at all times. Pickpockets may try to distract you or physically bump into you, especially in crowded places. If you realise you have been pickpocketed, shout out to warn others.
Be wise to cons and scams
You may be more vulnerable to different scams as a tourist or visitor to London.
Unfortunately, what looks like an entertaining ‘cups’ game will most probably lead to you losing money and you are more likely to be pickpocketed when distracted or in a crowd.
Although a ‘rickshaw’ or pedal cycle can seem like a fun way to travel and see central London, these are unsafe, cause a noise nuisance to London residents and often lead to people being ripped off when drivers demand excessively high fees for very short distances.
Only buy theatre tickets from official sources and not from sellers in the street.
You’re not the only person looking for a bargain, thieves are too. Be aware of who’s around you in busy shops as they are ideal places for people to brush past people, take items and then blend into the crowd. Keep designer and expensive purchases discreet. An expensive branded bag could be advertising something worth taking. Whilst browsing in shops keep phone and valuables in a zipped bag or front pocket and return cards to your wallet straight away.
When using a cashpoint, check that no one is looking over your shoulder and that the ATM hasn’t been tampered with. Cover the keypad so no one else can see your PIN number.
When taking a well-earned break from shopping, avoid placing handbags on the back of chairs or leaving them on tables. Use bag hooks, if provided, and either keep your shopping in sight, or tucked away in front of you under the table.
Beware of bogus police officers
Protect yourself from thieves who impersonate police officers. If you get stopped by someone in plain clothes who claims to be a police officer, remember a real police officer will:
always tell you why you have been stopped
always produce their official warrant card with their photograph, name and identity number
never ask you for PIN numbers or cash
The officer details can be verified if you call police on 101. Please call 101 if you have any other concerns about the search.
Keep your luggage safe
Never leave your luggage alone, even for a few seconds, as this could cause a security alert. If you see an unattended item of luggage, alert a member of staff or security, or if no one is present call 999.
Always keep bags in your possession and close to you. Clearly mark your luggage with your contact telephone number and email. Lock your suitcase if you can and secure a strap around your case to make it more difficult to gain access.
Enjoy safe nights out
Don’t leave drinks unattended or accept them from strangers. Be aware of strangers being over friendly in bars, clubs and large gatherings. They may be trying to use a ‘hugger mugger’ approach to steal from you. It’s better to stick to well lit and busy streets if possible. Check up on your friends by phone or text to make sure they got home safely and vice versa.
Only taxis, or 'black cabs', can be stopped in the street. These look like purpose built taxis with an illuminated sign on the roof.
Minicabs must be pre booked by phone, email or in person at the minicab office. The driver should have ID and the vehicle should have a licence displayed on it. Minicabs that pick up fares on the street, without being pre booked, are illegal and uninsured and could put you at risk of sexual assault or robbery.
For rickshaws, see 'Be wise to cons and scams' further up this page.
Plan your journey home
It’s a good idea to plan how you will get home by checking the time of your last train, bus or tube back to your accommodation.