Government meets mobile giants to help tackle smartphone theft

It has met with Samsung, Google, Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry

The government is working with the main mobile phone companies to help tackle the increasing problem of mobile phone thefts.

Mobile phones are becoming an increasingly attractive target for thieves, with more than 800,000 stolen in the past year alone across England and Wales.

The government wants a greater use of security features on phones, to make them less attractive for thieves.

At the moment mobile operators and the police can block stolen phones for UK use within 48 hours, but many are sold overseas to get around barring technology. Handsets can be sold for hundreds of pounds overseas, where the newest models are not yet available.

Most smartphones can also use location tracking software to help police pinpoint the whereabouts of stolen phones. However, many mobile phone users don't even protect their devices with a simple password.

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker has met with Samsung, Google, Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry to discuss the problem.

A new online advice service for mobile users is among the options being considered by the Home Office, working in partnership with the industry, to help tackle rising thefts.

Baker said: "We are seeing signs of an increase in theft from the person, mainly smartphones. Mobile phone technology is changing all the time and we need innovative solutions to ensure we get ahead of criminals. I want to make mobile phone theft as difficult as possible."

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