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Case Studies

Handset call

About 10,000 mobile phones are stolen every month in the capital. Hence Mayor of London Boris Johnson has called on the mobile phone industry to help deliver a technical solution.

While recorded crime in London has fallen by 7 per cent in 2012/13, theft from person offences in the last year rose by 12 per cent. This was largely driven by mobile phone theft, which accounts for 75 per cent of such offences. Smartphone theft is a problem also in such cities as New York, Washington and Amsterdam. Mobile phone theft was one issue under discussion at a first international policing conference convened by Johnson at City Hall, attended by mayors, police chiefs and delegates from 15 cities. It is considered that one of the major drivers for the growth of phone robbery is the cross-border black market in stolen devices involving criminals, who can exploit the poor safeguards for identifying stolen devices and the ease of selling handsets overseas.

The Mayor, Deputy Metropolitan Commissioner Craig Mackey and leaders of the London Crime Reduction Board (LCRB) in July wrote to the major UK mobile phone manufacturers and suppliers to express their ‘deep concern ‘ about the rise in person smartphone thefts and asking them to take the problem more seriously. The LCRB believe that smartphone theft needs to be addressed in the same way that the motor industry devised solutions to design out car crime using immobilisers and enhanced security in the 1990s.

The conference Policing Global Cites covered:
• The pressures and challenges that cities face when they become an international destination and a focus for major world events
• How policing needs to adapt to social change, the growth of cities and keep pace with technology and new crime threats
• How cities from across the globe can work together to tackle organised crime across borders

Speakers included Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, City of Melbourne; Chief Detective Superintendent Harald Pickert, Head of the Crime Fighting Unit, Munich Police; Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam; Cathy Lanier, Chief of Police in Washington DC; William Blair, Chief of the Toronto Police and Dr Satya Pal Singh, Commissioner, Mumbai. For a full list of speakers and more information on the topics go to

The conference was organised by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and sponsored by KPMG, BT, Cisco and Accenture and opened by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

The signatories of the London Crime Reduction Board ( LCRB) are- Boris Johnson, Mayor of London; Craig Mackey, Deputy Commissioner Metropolitan Police Service; Jules Pipe, Mayor for Hackney & Chair of London Councils; Alison Saunders CB, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London; Sara Robinson and Assistant Chief Officer, London Probation . The LCRB letter was send to the following manufacturers: Apple Inc, backberry, Samsumg, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Google- Motorola, HTC and Microsoft.


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