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Civil servants cough up more lost BlackBerrys

Whitehall sofas must be chock-full of smart devices

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Further evidence of civil servants' apparent inability to hold onto their BlackBerrys emerged yesterday as ministers' revealed further losses of the smart devices.

Gareth Thomas MP has been conducting a crusade to expose Whitehall losses of IT kit.

Yesterday, it was the Scotland Office and Department of Communities and Local Government, Culture and the Treasury's turn to answer where they had "lost any (a) computers, (b) mobile telephones, (c) BlackBerrys and (d) other IT equipment since May 2010."

The Scotland Office revealed it had not mislaid any "computers, mobile telephones or other IT equipment" in the period, but had mislaid two BlackBerrys.

Things were a little more mixed at the DCLG, where minister Robert Neill revealed that one computer, two other bits of IT equipment and two BlackBerries had been lost.

The Department of Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport saw three BlackBerrys go missing, along with two memory sticks and one mobile phone.

The Treasury, guardians of the nation's wealth, managed to mislay seven computers – six of them stolen – one mobile phone, 16 other bits of IT kit, and one mobile phone. It also mislaid a stonking 14 BlackBerrys, of which just two were half-inched. The rest are presumably down the back of a sofa somewhere off Whitehall.

This just a day after the Department for Energy and Climate Change revealed that 11 BlackBerrys and a mere three "mobile phones" had been lost or stolen in the previous year, while the Justice Department revealed that 71 of its BlackBerrys had gone missing.

Some Reg readers have rightfully pointed out that the Justice Department is on intimate terms with some of society's more light-fingered members. And figures from the Health Department yesterday showed that in 2010 to 2001, 1,168 BlackBerrys were doled out to department staff compared to 590 mobile phones.

And BlackBerrys do have the seal of approval from the government's own crypto-boffins.

But it does appear that civil servants have a habit of losing BlackBerrys more often than any other piece of mobile IT kit.

We asked RIM if it could throw any light on whether it believes BlackBerrys are more prone to being lost or nicked from the nation's civil servants, and what it might be able to do about the matter. It hasn't come back to us yet. ®

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