Met Commissioner meets industry leaders to ‘design out’ theft of smartphones

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Sir Mark Rowley convened a landmark meeting with world-leading mobile phone companies to ask them to commit to designing out mobile phone robbery.

Meeting with Apple, Samsung and Google as well as other manufacturers, the focus was 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.

It follows a call to action from the Mayor and the Met Commissioner in August for the mobile phone industry to play their part and ‘deliver bold and innovative technological solutions’ to help tackle the rising number of robberies and thefts in the capital.

In London, around 157 mobile phones are stolen every day.

The Mayor and the Commissioner said there is more that can be done to prevent mobile phone theft by making it harder for stolen phones to be re-used and registered for services not just on phone networks but also for services provided by Apple, Google Play, Samsung and other online stores. The meeting considered a range of options including how to reduce identify fraud.

Speaking before the meeting, the Mayor said, “This meeting is an important milestone to developing a practical and long-term solution to ending the menace of mobile phone crime which we know is driving violence and criminality in our communities – not just in London but across the UK. Right now, it is far too easy and profitable for criminals to repurpose and sell on stolen phones.”

The Met Commissioner said that selling on stolen mobile phones, “Fuels a highly lucrative and profitable criminal market across the capital, and is central to the rise in thefts, robbery and violent offending we’ve seen over the last two years.

“But until we design out the ability for phones to be used in the way they currently are, we will be stuck in a vicious circle. Key mobile phone players have a huge part to play in crushing this criminal market, and this meeting is a really important step forward, but we have to move quickly.”

Joining the landmark roundtable, Aleyne Johnson, Director of Government and External Relations at Samsung UK said the company had been working closely with the Met Police on the issue of mobile phone theft. Ahead of the meeting, she said she looked forward to discussing existing and potential new solutions ‘to help combat this complex issue and improve the safety of mobile phone users.’

Companies attending the meeting at City Hall on 17 October, included: Apple, Samsung, Google, Nokia, BT/EE, O2 Virgin Media, Vodafone, Three and trade association, Mobile UK.

Photo credit: Met Commissioner with Mayor of London in Ealing/Met Police.