New partnership to combat mobile phone theft

New partnership to combat mobile phone theft

Aug 10, 2006
By David Howell

Eighty per cent of stolen handsets will be blocked on all five UK networks within 48 hours of being reported stolen to their home network, a new partnership pledged on July 27.

Working in partnership, the government, police, the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum (MICAF) and mobile phone industry leaders have launched an industry charter detailing objectives and initiatives to help reduce mobile phone crime.

The Home Secretary John Reid welcomed the charter, and pledged £1.35 million funding for the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU), which is to strengthen local and national action to disrupt stolen phone markets.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The blocking target represents a world first in using this type of process, and shows industry leaders` commitment to play their part in helping to reduce mobile phone theft in the UK.”

Mr Reid said: “I welcome this commitment by the mobile phone industry leaders to make mobile phones less attractive to thieves and demonstrate their clear commitment to their customers` safety.

“The latest crime statistics show that most robbery is concentrated in a relatively small number of hotspot areas throughout England and Wales, the majority of which are in major cities.

“The Home Office is already working with these local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) to help them tackle their problems, through expert advice, and dedicated action plans for their areas.”

Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum Chair Jack Wraith said: “The mobile phone industry has a history of close partnership working with the Home Office, the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit, and we are committed to doing all we can to reduce the number of phones being stolen in the UK.

“The charter clearly sets out the key steps the industry will take to help cut mobile phone theft further so as to ensure that people can continue to use their phones, safe in the knowledge that measures are in place that will make them worthless to thieves if they are stolen.

“The industry has already achieved a great deal, being the first in the world to introduce, in conjunction with the GSM Association, a central database which enables the exchange of information on those handsets reported as stolen by customers thus enabling them to be blocked across all UK Networks.”

Tim Godwin, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on mobile phone theft and Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: “ACPO welcomes the mobile phone industry`s commitment to future support for partnership and mobile phone crime reduction.

“We are particularly pleased with the measures to ensure effective blocking of stolen mobile phones so that they will not work on UK networks and a commitment to independently monitor performance in respect of this.”

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