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Move to make mobiles usesless to thieves.

Mobile phone networks are for the first time to be measured on how quickly they block stolen handsets.

Under a new industry charter, the five companies will blacklist eight out of ten stolen phones within 48 hours of the theft being reported to their home network.

Home Secretary John Reid said he hoped the move would be the "first large step forward" in tackling the rise in street crime. An eight per cent surge in robbery recorded by police last year is thought to be largely driven by demand for hitech phones and other electronics.

Mr Reid said: "The message to the criminals is that mobile phone theft is now a useless occupation, because the handsets themselves will be useless within a very short period of time. If you steal mobiles you will not be able to sell them."

On the rise in robbery revealed in official crime statistics last week, Dr Reid said: "At the moment the growth rate has mainly been in mobile phones but of course I'm hoping that this will be the first large step forward in combating the growth in robberies of modern technological equipment. If we can do this it sets out the pathway to the possibility of doing something similar with more sophisticated equipment in due course."

Chairman of the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum, Jack Wraith, said theft would currently be blocked on all networks within 24 to 36 hours.

But the crucial aspect of the announcement was that networks would be measured on performance, and figures would be published annually.


John Reid: First large step forward in tackling the rise in street crime
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 28, 2006
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