Met clampdown sees mobile theft plummet


Offences fall 14 per cent as MPS steps up crime prevention campaigns

Mobile phone theft fell by 14 per cent to 30,028 offences in the 12 months to March 31 as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) intensified crime prevention activities. Around 80 mobile phones are stolen a day in London alone.

The MPS also revealed that there has been a 24 per cent decrease in the robbery of mobile phones to 13,435 offences.

In addition, during the latest “Big Wing” operation on April 24, hundreds of officers from the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) were deployed across London as part of a day-long focus on mobile phone crime, with 220 suspected stolen mobiles seized and 630 arrests made, although not all were related to mobile theft.

Officers visited more than 200 secondhand commercial shops and stalls to encourage owners to sign up to the voluntary agreement to restrict the sale of stolen property.

This is part of Operation Neptune, which is managed by the NMPCU. Since launching in June 2013, the team has arrested 58 people, conducted more than 40 searches and seized 328 mobile phones to the approximate value of £164,000.

Operation Neptune sees the MPS cover secondhand markets, negotiating a voluntary code of conduct for premises to record sellers’ details, check property with the NMPCU and inform local police when stolen property comes into their possession.

More than 1,000 retailers across London have signed up for the scheme, which sees them obtain access to CheckMEND, a searchable database of used consumer goods, enabling them to check if an item is stolen or not prior to its sale.

It permits police to examine stock to ensure secondhand shops and stalls don’t purchase stolen property. Offices then visit accredited sellers to check on their progress and encourage the use of the “Safe Seller” sticker, which it said provides a clear message to customers that they perform checks to ensure they only trade legitimate goods.

High priority
NMPCU detective super- intendent Neil Thompson said: “Mobile phone-related crime is a high priority for the MPS – work continues day in and day out to target those responsible and the networks they use to sell on stolen property.

“The crime figures for the latest financial year demonstrate our relentless commitment to driving down mobile phone-related crime.

“Crimes like robbery and theft have a huge impact on the people who are victims. By targeting those people responsible, plus the networks they use to sell on stolen property, we aim to make our streets a hostile place for them to operate.”

Over the past year, the MPS has intensified its efforts to drive down mobile phone theft. Operation Ringtone, which launched in the hotspot areas of Islington, Westminster, Camden, Hackney and Lambeth, has been increased to all 32 London boroughs.

Since launch in February 2013, close to 10,000 mobile phone-related arrests have been made under the Operation Ringtone banner.