Mobile phones play a big part in our crime

Hands up if you bought a new iPhone, writes Mansfield’s Chief Inspector Paul Winter.

I haven’t braved the queues myself, but having teenage children I think that I now know all that there is to know about them as they aim to get them on their Christmas present list.

Their existing phones allow them to make calls, text and surf the net but they are not the latest ‘must have’.

In fact, we’ve come so far in a technological sense that it’s hard to imagine how we existed before the worldwide web.

How would we know how to replace a fuse without the YouTube ‘How To’ clip? How would we get through the night without knowing Stephen Fry’s every waking thought?

When I’m out and about in Mansfield I often see people on their phones. We’re busy trying to get to the next level on Candy Crush while we cross the road, we’re looking at the world through our phone camera, we’re ‘liking’ statuses on Facebook while we’re on the move.

Working for the police I am all too aware of the part mobile phones can play in crime. They are one of the fatal four reasons for death and serious injury on our roads, they are why revellers are targeted by thieves in pubs and clubs and they are popular with paedophiles who seek to groom young people online.

In line with new releases of handsets, such as the latest iPhone, the Force is working hard to target these organised groups who are stealing Smartphones on mass, wiping them and selling them on.

You can help us by protecting yourself against theft. Criminals often wait for you to be distracted. Stay alert when you are in busy public places and report suspicious activity such as someone interfering with your handbag or constantly bumping into you. You may look around but nothing has been taken so you carry on walking or dancing, but the next person may not be so lucky. If your instincts tell you to watch out, report it to the bar staff or security guards so they can be on the look-out too.

Think about it this way, if you were walking around with £500, would you leave it on the table for all to see while you supped your coffee? Would you have it hanging out of your back pocket?

For most, your phone is worth more than just the price you paid for it. The device may be replaceable, but are your photos, contacts and video clips?

Thieves also steal phones in a bid to access personal information such as bank details, passwords and pin numbers and the next thing you know you have been victimised again.

If you suspect someone of being involved in phone theft or handling stolen goods please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.