Thursday, 10 November 2011

Foreign Office's strangest requests revealed

The British Foreign Office have today revealed some of the strangest requests received by members of the general public. Over the past six months staff have had a request from a man stranded at the airport by his dominatrix (a citizen in trouble after all) to more bizarre requests such as a Spanish couple asking for Prince Charles' shoe size so that they could send a pair of shoes to him as a present.

Further unusual requests to consular staff include:
  • A caller asked staff in Malaga in mid-September where she could get a Christmas lunch as everywhere was already booked up
  • Staff in Greece were asked for tips on the best fishing spots and where to purchase good bait
  • A man called the consulate in Florida to report that there were ants in his holiday villa and asked for advice on what he should do
  • A lady complained to the embassy in Moscow about a loud buzzing noise in her apartment
  • A man asked a consulate in Greece for information on how to go about putting a chicken coop in his garden
Commenting on the issue, Consular Affairs Minister Jeremy Browne said: "Our priority is to help people in real difficulty abroad and we cannot do this if our time is diverted by people trying to use us as a concierge service.
We need to be able to focus primarily on helping victims of serious crimes, supporting people who have been detained or assisting people who have lost a loved one abroad."

The Foreign Office dealt with over 19,000 cases of genuine assistance to it citizens in 2010 and a new call centre was opened in Malaga in the same year which is said to have made significant difference in non consular enquiries.

Keep up the good work!