Stolen mobiles blocked in 24 hours

Stolen mobiles blocked in 24 hours

Handset theft now pointless, claims UK Home Office

Mobile operators are successfully blocking every phone on their own networks within 24 hours if reported stolen, according to tests run by the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum.

The results exceed industry targets of 80 per cent established by the Mobile Phone Industry Crime Reduction Charter (PDF) agreed between the UK Home Office and network operators in July 2006.

The same tests also indicated that phone blocking across all networks is successfully carried out within 48 hours on 98 per cent of all mobile phones reported stolen.

This is despite government figures showing that some 800,000 handsets were stolen last year.

The Home Office is hoping that the figures will hammer home the message to would-be thieves that mobile phone crime does not pay.

"These results send a powerful message to anyone thinking of stealing or buying a stolen mobile that it will not work," said Home Office minister Vernon Coaker.

"By working with the industry to take stolen mobiles out of action, and enacting tough legislation to give police powers to close down unscrupulous retailers who offer to unblock stolen phones, we are cutting the oxygen of mobile phone crime."

Coaker pointed to recently published crime figures indicating a nine per cent drop in robberies recorded by the police compared with the same period last year.

"When you bear in mind that a mobile phone is stolen in over 50 per cent of robberies, I think these figures show that joined up action by government, industry and the police is beginning to bite," he said.