Metropolitan Police urges operators to do more to prevent phone thefts

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Operators and mobile phone resellers key to catching criminals, Met Police says

The Metropolitan Police is calling on the mobile industry for greater support in cutting the rising number of mobile phone thefts in the UK.

According to the Met, more than 340,000 mobile phones were stolen in the UK last year – with around 7,000 stolen in London every month.

Muggings in the capital have increased by 9.9 per cent in the past year, with around 70 per cent involving a mobile phone.

According to Chief Superintendent Gerry Campbell (pictured), who was speaking to Mobile News at a recent mobile theft awareness event in Clapham, mobile resellers can play a key role in “eradicating” phone theft by educating customers at the point of sale.

He said retail staff could give customers basic advice on theft prevention and explain the most common ways in which  devices are stolen.

They could also give consumers more technical knowledge, such as the importance of knowing the device’s IMEI number, which enables the police to block the phone in the UK.

In addition, Campbell said encouraging customers to download and use tracking applications on their device would not only help police to locate their device, but also capture the perpetrators.

Campaign

The Met has been providing advice such as this at a number of awareness campaign events across London. The number of phone thefts in the capital has fallen by 9.5 per cent since February and there have been more than 4,500 arrests.

The force hopes to have reduced the average number of monthly thefts in the capital by half by the end of this year and, with the help of resellers, reduce the figures nationally.

Ch Supt Campbell said: “The Metropolitan Police is robust in its determination to prevent, reduce and eradicate mobile phone crime, but we can’t do this by ourselves.

“We have arrested an increasing number of people in possession of blocked phones.

“If the public can provide us with their IMEI number, we can put that into the crime reporting system and officers can search addresses, make checks on the national mobile phone register and identify stolen products.

“A simple tracking application installed on a device, can give us the opportunity to locate the handset and then secure the early arrest of the perpetrator and prevent them from reoffending.
“We have worked very well with the industry to identify the problems and we must continue to work effectively and more smartly together to consistently outwit the criminals and to stay one step ahead.

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