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UK beats on mobile phone muggings

Straw invites phone chiefs around for tea

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British Home Secretary Jack Straw is to meet mobile phone chiefs in a bid to tackle mobile phone muggings.

The event will address the growing number of handset thefts on Britain's streets - and in particular crimes by kids against other kids around schools. The Metropolitan police reckon around 15,000 phones are snatched every month, with a worrying surge of the crimes between 3.45pm and 5.15pm - the times when pupils leave school.

Phone thefts are believed to account for one third of all street crimes in some areas.

Straw, keen to polish his crime fighting image in the run up to the general election, is to invite mobile execs and senior police officers over to the Home Office in the next fortnight. Phone manufacturers will be urged to introduce more security measures, such as putting pin numbers and passwords on phones, to make mobile thefts less worthwhile.

"The success we have already had in combating burglary and car theft shows what can be done with targeted policing and support from the community and industry," said Straw.

"One area which remains stubbornly high, however, is street crime and robbery. I therefore want to focus our efforts on achieving reductions her. I am particularly concerned by emerging evidence that a major factor in this is the theft of mobile phones." ®

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