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Alleged Serious and Significant Offences 2019 to 2022: Diplomatic Immunity

Volume 737: debated on Thursday 14 September 2023

Between 2019 and 2022, 15 serious and significant offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic or international organisation-related immunity in the United Kingdom were drawn to the attention of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office by parliamentary and diplomatic protection of the Metropolitan Police Service, or other law enforcement agencies. We define serious offences as those which could, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or more. Also included are driving under the influence and driving without insurance.

Around 25,500 people are entitled to diplomatic or international organisation-related immunity in the UK and the vast majority of diplomats and dependants abide by UK law. The number of alleged serious offences committed by members of the diplomatic community in the UK is proportionately low.

Under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations 1961 and related legislation, we expect those entitled to immunity to obey the law. The FCDO does not tolerate foreign diplomats or dependants breaking the law.

We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously. When the police or other law enforcement agency bring instances of alleged criminal conduct to our attention, we ask the relevant foreign Government or international organisation to waive immunity where appropriate. For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not been granted, we request the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat or dependant.

Listed below are alleged serious and significant offences reported to the FCDO by UK law enforcement agencies between 2019 and 2022.


Domestic servitude/modern slaverya

Saudi Arabia 1

Sexual Assault

Iraq 1

Fraud by abuse of position

Commonwealth Secretariat 1

Causing death by careless driving


Driving under the influence of alcohol

Oman 1

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Kyrgyzstan 1

a) Historical allegations


Common assault/cruelty to a child

Nigeria 1

Driving under the influence of alcohol

India 1


Driving under the influence of alcohol

Saudi Arabia 2

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Ethiopia 1


Driving without insurance

Myanmar 1

Common Assault/Threats to kill

Greece 1

Fraud by false representation/perverting the course of justice/money laundering Democratic Republic of the Congo 1

Sexual Assault


Figures for 2018 are available in the then Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 25 February 2020 (HCWS119) which can be found at: Immunity)2018