Sadiq Khan and Met Police Chief Seek Smartphone Theft Solutions in Talks with Tech Giants

Meeting with Tech Giants to Curb Mobile Phone Robberies:

London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and the Metropolitan Police Chief, Sir Mark Rowley, are scheduled to convene with leading mobile phone companies in an effort to request their commitment to eliminating mobile phone theft and addressing the surge of such incidents across the city.

Over the past year, mobile phone robberies in the capital have surged by 28 percent, with some culprits resorting to brandishing knives during thefts.

Alarming Rise in Mobile Phone Robberies:

Data from the Metropolitan Police revealed a staggering 57,174 reported cases of stolen mobile phones in the past year, averaging 157 thefts daily.

As a response to this worrisome trend, the London Mayor and the head of the police force will engage in discussions with representatives from tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Google, in addition to major phone network providers.

Their primary aim is to identify effective deterrents and ultimately reduce mobile phone robberies significantly.

Making London Safer for Everyone:

Sadiq Khan emphasized that the meeting signifies a critical step toward enhancing safety in London. Shocking incidents captured on video over the past year have underscored the pervasive nature of mobile phone theft in the city.

In one instance, a bold thief on an electric bike was filmed snatching a woman’s phone in broad daylight near The Ritz Hotel in Green Park.

The footage depicted the thief weaving through stationary traffic at a red light and later riding onto the pavement, where he targeted a woman engrossed in her phone.

After seizing the device, a struggle ensued, leaving the victim sprawled on the pavement in Piccadilly, Mayfair, while the criminal made a swift getaway amid moving vehicles.

Violent Encounters:

Another incident involved a knife-wielding phone robber who ended up stabbing two police officers when apprehended while robbing a man of his phone and power bank on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Collaborative Efforts to Combat Mobile Phone Crime:

Sadiq Khan highlighted the importance of developing practical and long-term solutions to combat mobile phone crime, which has been linked to violence and criminal activity not only in London but across the UK.

He stressed the need to reduce the ease and profitability of criminals repurposing and selling stolen phones. Khan also emphasized that, in addition to strengthening neighborhood policing and increasing support for police efforts against serious offenders, they are working closely with the mobile phone industry to create innovative technological solutions that render stolen phones less appealing and usable to thieves.

Efforts to Disincentivize Mobile Phone Theft:

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley revealed that the force had recently made multiple arrests and seized over 70 stolen phones from a shop involved in reselling them.

However, he noted that until they eliminate the ability for phones to be used as they currently are, the issue will persist in a cyclical pattern.

Industry Collaboration to Deter and Reduce Thefts:

Hamish MacLeod, the CEO of Mobile UK, underscored that mobile operators and device manufacturers have several capabilities and measures to discourage mobile phone theft.

These measures include providing features that allow customers to track and disable mobile handsets.

MacLeod welcomed the roundtable discussions with the Mayor of London and the Metropolitan Police to explore further actions, including prioritizing theft prevention and prosecutions to deter and reduce these crimes.