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Civil servants just can't keep a grip on their BlackBerrys

Aging smartphone platform is most 'lost' or 'stolen' item

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BlackBerrys have become the most lost or stolen item at the Department of Transport, a minister revealed yesterday, although thieves also seem to have a taste for heating fuel too.

Under-Secretary of State for Transport Norman Baker produced a shopping list of items "recorded as lost by or stolen from DFT staff, from either on or off the various premises of the Department and includes both Department owned assets and staff personal property".

At the central offices, 10 BlackBerrys were recorded as lost, while another eight, and a laptop, were nicked.

BlackBerrys and other mobile kit were mislaid almost as often at the DFT's agencies, where four BlackBerrys and two laptops were lost, while eight laptops, one iPhone and one PC and screen were stolen.

A projector, digital radio and airwave radio were also "lost" at the agencies.

More worrying, perhaps, were the thefts of a watch, a high visibility suit, 250 litres of heating oil and a gas boiler flue. It is not clear whether that particular haul was shifted on the solitary bike stolen from the department.

Baker reassured MPs that "the Department takes firm action to investigate thefts and seeks to recover losses. Instances of theft are reported to the police whenever appropriate".

He added that "information held on departmental laptops and BlackBerrys is encrypted to appropriate HMG standards. All such BlackBerrys reported as lost or stolen are remotely erased". Whether the same can be said for the missing iPhone is another matter. ®

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