Home Business News Mayor of London and Met Commissioner call on mobile phone industry to play their part in reducing robberies

Mayor of London and Met Commissioner call on mobile phone industry to play their part in reducing robberies

by LLB political Reporter
9th Aug 23 7:01 am

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley have today called on the mobile phone industry to play their part and “deliver bold and innovative technological solutions” to help tackle the rising number of robberies in the capital.

They are urging leading mobile phone providers and manufacturers to work with City Hall and the Met police to ‘design out’ the theft and robberies of mobile phones building on the successful precedent of car manufacturers who worked with police to substantially reduce the thefts of car radios and sat navs by integrating them into vehicle dashboards.

The call to action is being made alongside renewed action by the Met to target hotspots of robbery and thefts in London with neighbourhood policing being boosted in high streets and local communities as part of the New Met for London plan.

The action comes as new figures show that mobile phone crime is driving the rise in robberies and thefts in the capital with 38 per cent of all personal robberies last year – equating to more than 9,500 offences – involving a phone being stolen. And nearly 70 per cent of all thefts in London last year related to mobile phones.

Violence and weapons have also been used in many robberies – in line with national trends – leaving victims traumatised and in the most extreme examples seriously or fatally injured. After a period of decline during the pandemic, England is now experiencing a steady increase in robberies, as is London, in line with national trends.

The Met is spearheading dedicated and targeted police work to prevent these crimes but as the criminal demand for high-value mobile phones continues to grow, the Mayor and Met Commissioner agree more can be and should be done by the mobile phone industry to make it harder for stolen phones to be sold on, repurposed by vendors and re-used illegally.

To help develop a long-term solution to this growing crime, they have today jointly written to mobile phone providers and invited them to attend a roundtable discussion. The meeting will focus on how the police, City Hall and the mobile phone industry can work better together to find the most effective deterrent and ultimately significantly reduce mobile phone robberies in London and beyond.

With the summer holidays now underway during a cost-of-living crisis, the Mayor and Met police are determined to do everything possible to keep all Londoners safe by reinvigorating neighbourhood policing, proactively pursuing the worst offenders, making better use of technology to track stolen phones, and building on the significant progress that has been made in tackling violence and homicides in the capital.

Police data shows that young people are disproportionately involved in robberies, both as victims and perpetrators, with young people aged between 14-20 particularly at risk of being targeted by criminals.

On Tuesday the Mayor Sadiq Khan and Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley visited West London to see the intelligence-led, targeted police activity taking place day and night to prevent and tackle robberies in this area and across the capital. Alongside the enforcement action, the Mayor has provided an additional £7.4m to his Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) for a series of activities across London this summer to provide positive and constructive opportunities for young people.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m committed to continue building a safer city for all Londoners by being tough on violence and tough on its complex causes.

“We have made progress with homicides, knife crime with injury and gun crime having fallen since 2016. But despite the support we’re providing young Londoners during the holidays and beyond, the spiralling cost-of-living threatens to exacerbate the drivers of violence and robberies which we know disproportionately impact young people.

“It’s simply too easy and profitable for criminals right now to repurpose and sell on stolen phones. That’s why, alongside strengthening neighbourhood policing and record investment in supporting the police to go after the worst offenders the Commissioner and I are calling on the mobile phone industry to work with us and play their part in reducing robberies and thefts involving mobile phones.”

Met Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, said: “The current practice of allowing stolen mobiles to be re-registered by new users within the phone industry inadvertently enables a criminal market which drives, robbery, thefts and violent offending in London.

“We need partners to step up to the plate and work alongside us to break this cycle of violence fuelled by the ability of mobile phones to be re-purposed and sold on in this way.

“Our work to drive down violence in all its forms across London continues. We’re building the strongest neighbourhood policing offer we’ve ever had, using data and technology to target hotspots, and arresting those handling stolen devices wherever and whenever we can.

“But we’ve been really clear there are root causes of violence we cannot tackle alone. Until we are working jointly with industry to remove the ability for phones to be used in this way, Londoners will continue to fall victim to those who will not hesitate to use violence to steal from them.”

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