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Consular news – Embassy 8 – May 2008

FCO launches tracking service

British consuls will be able to trace their nationals caught in emergencies through a new tracking service.

Called Locate, the service involves travellers registering their travel details on the FCO website.

Travellers will give information about their journeys as well as providing details of friends and family who can be contacted in an emergency.

An FCO spokesman said Locate is primarily a "reactive" system and there are no plans for it to become an "early warning" system for travellers.

The initiative co-incides with an FCO survey which showed that more than half of Britons go abroad without leaving journey details with friends and family. Yet 90% said they would feel reassured to know that in the event of a crisis, the local embassy could find their location quickly. 

Speaking at the launch, the Minister for Consular Services Meg Munn said: "Things can change very quickly in any country. "Telling us where you will be, whether it's a short trip or you're travelling for a year, could help us either to get to you if you are in trouble, or know that you are safe so that we can concentrate our resources on helping those in need."

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