Front-line police officers ‘on the beat’ will soon only need a few seconds to check whether a mobile phone has been stolen. A new process developed by the National Policing Improvement Agency comes into effect on Monday, giving officers the ability to directly access the National Mobile Phone Register from a handheld device.
Around 54,000 officers across the UK currently use handheld computers in their work. The previous system for identifying stolen phones involved contacting a control room that would then access the NMPR via a desktop PC, which could take up to 20 minutes.
The NMPR, run by the Metropolitan Police Service and jointly funded by the Home Office, holds descriptions of stolen and lost mobiles. It’s now been integrated with the Police National Computer after almost two years’ work by Recipero, which also runs the as CheckMEND and Immobilise databases.
350,000 stolen mobile phones are added to the UK NMPR every year. The database is searched around 300,000 times per year, with around a quarter of searches finding a match.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mick McNally of Territorial Policing Command at the Metropolitan Police Service said “For the first time front line officers can now obtain instantaneous results of searches on suspected stolen mobile phones. The figures of 50,000 plus stolen phones a year being located and identified throughout the UK will further increase with this new Police National Computer facility - it sends a clear message to phone thieves that police and partners can identify stolen mobile phones in the hands of the thief or another individual.”