LETTERS / Help for Britons in jail abroad

From Mr Tony Baldry Sir: The publicity about Professor Roger Matthew's report on British prisoners overseas (report, 12 December and letter, 14 December) contains inaccuracies and distortions that could unsettle the families of those concerned. I want toput the record straight.

There has been an increase in the number of Britons in jail overseas. This does increase pressure on consular resources. But it is irresponsible to suggest that prisoners are suffering as a result of this.

Our commitment to providing services to Britons overseas, including prisoners, is undiminished. Of course there have been changes in the way we do things; we are always making improvements - much of the Matthews report is two years out of date. But therehas been no reduction in the level of service we provide. Where necessary, additional resources are deployed. British prisoners overseas are not forgotten people. They are the daily concern of consular staff all over the world.

Yours faithfully, TONY BALDRY Under Secretary of State Foreign & Commonwealth Office London, SW1

14 December