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Police officer joins mobile phone unit.

A police officer from the West Midlands has been seconded to the new crack Government unit dedicated to tracking down mobile phone criminals.

Sergeant Jane Parry - previously based at Birmingham's Queens Road Police Station -has been helping to set up the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit for the past few weeks.

She will take a permanent position at the London-based NMPCU after Home Office Minister Hazel Blears launched the unit yesterday.

Sgt Perry said she was delighted to be part of the unit, which aims to deal with the 160 mobile phone robberies that take place in the UK every day.

'The aim of the NMPCU is to combat all levels of crime involving phones, from those who steal, handle and reprogramme phones, to those who sell them abroad,' she said.

The NMPCU will gather information to crack-down on the massive numbers of street robberies involving mobile phones.

It will also track crime gangs exporting phones snatched from robbery victims on British streets for sale in Africa, Asia and Europe. Half of all street crime involves the theft of a mobile phone, with more than 160 mobile phone robberies every day in the UK. Soaring street crime, especially mobile phone snatches, has led to criticism of the Government's record on law and order.

Earlier this year Tony Blair vowed to cut street crime in the worst affected areas.

The new pounds 1 million unit will involve 50 police officers, detectives from forces across the country, immigration, and customs and excise officers.

The unit hopes to gather valuable information about how criminals are operating and pass it on to all law enforcement agencies and police forces across the UK to crack down on the crime.

The unit has already been involved in 40 operations, making 22 arrests and recovering 1,200 stolen mobiles.

Superintendent Andy Nicholson, who co-ordinates the Safer Streets initiative for the West Midlands, said mobile phones were involved in a third of all robberies in the West Midlands.

'It is therefore vital to bring about a long term reduction in the levels of mobile phone thefts,' he said.

'We are delighted Sgt Jane Parry has taken her place in the new unit and we are convinced she and the unit will soon play a major role in the fight to stop this type of crime.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 18, 2003
Words:387
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