Brit police force cracking down on phone theft

We think it needs more than just a few T-shirts, though


In a laudable effort to cut down on mobile phone theft in Kingston-upon-Thames (close to London, England), the local police force has been encouraging staff in a select number of pubs (bars) and night clubs to wear special T-shirts. The shirts are emblazoned with the slogan “Love Your Phone” in an effort to encourage revellers to take more care of their prized smartphones when out and about. The campaign is the brainchild of Kingston’s current Chief Inspector, Gary Taylor, who is already something of a local legend.

On the first day of his promotion to Kingston’s Chief Inspector last year [2013], Taylor gave chase to a suspected burglar and eventually arrested him for what turned out to be drugs offences.

Taylor told local radio station, Radio Jackie, that in its first year of a campaign to encourage increased awareness of phone theft in Kingston’s town centre, the number of thefts was already down by 17 per cent.

Wearing T-shirts with a logo is commendable but GoMo News would argue that a hot line number would be far more effective.

Back in 2010, we reported the difficulties encountered by a young woman in nearby Epsom who had her phone stolen in a club. (See
Don’t lose your mobile phone in unsocialable hours‘).

She had great difficulty in reporting the phone as stolen as friends were reluctant to let her use their own handsets to report the theft.

That’s because hot lines frequently use non-geographic numbers which are expensive to call from mobile phones – unless you are on 3UK that is. (See here).

If revellers could report their phone as stolen quickly, the networks could move swiftly to have the handset’s IMEI number blocked.

In turn that would make it less attractive to steal a smartphone if the thief knew it would be blocked before they’d be able to sell it.

So GoMo reckons local Brit police forces should offer a handset theft hotline where the loss could be instantly reported (making insurance claims easier too).

The same hot line could make the phone number for UK MNOs and MVNOs available to callers so they could swiftly report the loss to their supplier.

So, over to you Mr Taylor.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
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