HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 c1099W
David Hamilton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the figures are for crime against the person in the Midlothian constituency in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available; what percentage of this figure was related to mobile phone crime; and what the Government are doing to(a) help reduce crime and (b) improve community safety in the Midlothian constituency. [27181]

Mr. Denham

This detailed information on Midlothian is a matter for the Scottish Executive. But Scotland should benefit from work undertaken in England and Wales in researching the problem of mobile phone theft, and in working with the industry. Although other measures are important, more needs to be done by the industry to enhance the security of their product, and we are pressing them to do more to prevent their customers from becoming the victims of crime.

We have succeeded in gaining the commitment of United Kingdom phone operators to some early measures to test ways of putting stolen phones out of action. In particular, we are exploring with the police and the operators a Dutch initiative which disables stolen phones by "bombing" them with teletext messages every few minutes. The operators have also agreed to improve security as investment takes place in new systems, and we are seeking similar commitments from manufacturers.