Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/01/10/top_cop_wants_crackdown/

Top cop wants crackdown on mobile phone mugging

Simple SIM card swaps to blame

By Robert Blincoe

Posted in Data Networking, 10th January 2001 13:48 GMT

The Metropolitan police chief wants mobile phone companies to make it more difficult to swap SIM cards between handsets as a step to halt the rise in phone related muggings.

Sir John Stevens, the commissioner of London's Metropolitan police force, says more than 30 per cent of robberies and muggings involve mobile phones. And because 70 per cent of these involve victims or offenders under 17, he believes phone mugging is an extension of school bullying.

The police view is that school thugs are stealing from fellow pupils and then putting pressure on their victims not to report the incident. But the ones who are arrested are mostly first time offenders. According to Stevens, 40 per cent of people arrested for street crimes have no previous convictions, and he is concerned to phone theft is turning young people onto crime.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Stevens said that if you couldn't just take a chip out of one phone and put it in another, then it would be a simple way of dealing with the problem. ®