Industry and government unite to reduce mobile phone theft

3, Orange, O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone pledge to block 80 per cent of stolen mobiles within 48 hours of theft under new MICAF charter

In a bid to deter would-be thieves and ensure greater consumer confidence, eight out of 10 mobile phones will be blocked within 48 hours of being reported stolen in the UK by the end of this year.

The big five UK networks 3 , Orange, O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone have vowed to embrace this clampdown on crime as part of a charter launched today by the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum (MICAF).

According to the Metropolitan PoliceMetropolitan Police, up to 10,000 mobile phones are stolen each month. The new cross-network anti-crime system aims to reduce this figure and is the first of its kind worldwide, according to Jack Wraith, MICAF chair.

"The charter documents the importance of consumer awareness and the need for people to register their phones, so as to increase the chances of their phone being returned safely should it be recovered after being lost or stolen," he said.

Home Secretary John Reid echoed the aims of the MICAF, suggesting that this new approach will increase safety for thousands of people. He said: "I believe the public should be free to carry valuable items, such as mobile phones and MP3 players, on the street without fear of becoming a target.

"Working hand-in-hand with the phone industry, we are taking important steps to reduce street crime and fear of crime, and to keep our public spaces safe."

The crackdown on mobile phone theft also has the backing of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which believes that this partnership will make it increasingly difficult for criminals to profit from their wrong doing.

The MICAF represents all of the UK's mobile network operators as well as some high street retailers and handset manufacturers. Its core aim is to work in partnership with the Government and Law Enforcement Agencies to address the issue of mobile phone theft.

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