Safety and Security in the UK
Despite the well-organized emergency services which are quick to react at all times and, to some extent, the many CCTV cameras located in the public space, not everything is all sunshine and butterflies. Every expat-to-be should at least have a general idea of the situation in the UK with regard to crime and discrimination.
The Camera Eye
While CCTV surveillance has been under particular scrutiny for a while now, mostly for reasons of privacy and civil liberties that many critics of the system view as endangered, there is some evidence that video recordings can help prevent crime, and, when it does occur, solve it. Be that as it may, you will probably get used rather quickly to the sight of camera objectives pointing in your general direction when you go for a walk through your new hometown in the UK. You should be careful not to walk just anywhere, though. In all major cities and conurbations, there are high crime areas you should try to steer clear from. As soon as you have made your choice as to where you want to move, it is time to get informed about what neighborhoods should best be off limits to you. Being watchful is always a good idea; however, there is no need to be paranoid. Chances that you will be on the receiving end of a violent crime anywhere in the UK are fairly low. Our article on safety and crime in the UK offers an overview and tips on what safety precautions to keep in mind as an expat in the United Kingdom.
Racism and Homophobia
As open minded a society might await expats relocating to the UK, there are a number of unresolved issues that could become troublesome to newcomers, just as they are already troublesome to parts of the UK population. Racism might have taken a number of steps away from hatred based purely on ethnicity or constructs of “race” but it is still going strong, most notably in the form of Islamophobia. Doubtlessly one of the most incendiary issues in British society today, this form of religious discrimination and hatred has gained a certain level of acceptance in popular opinion. This is not to trivialize the – still existent – threat of plain old racism or anti-Semitism. Some 100 people are victims of racist crimes throughout the UK every day. Homophobia and sexism continue to be worrisome as well, recent triumphs of the LGBT community with regard to marriage rights notwithstanding. Our corresponding article aims to give you an overview on the extent of all the issues named above, and prepares you for what to expect.