Met Police staff lose 24 laptops

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Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Laptops and mobile phones are among hundreds of electronic devices lost by officers and civilian staff of Britain’s largest police force, figures show.

Some 24 laptops, 251 personal digital assistants (PDAs) and 172 BlackBerry handsets were mislaid by employees of the Metropolitan Police in nearly five years from 2010.

The statistics, revealed following a freedom of information request, also showed that 21 BlackBerrys, nine PDAs and six laptops were reported stolen.

Over the same period 713 standard mobile phones were lost or stolen. At least 201 were lost, but the figures were only separated between losses and thefts for 2013 and 2014.

It means that more than 1,000 electronic gadgets belonging to the force have been lost or stolen between 2010 and September last year.

The data also shows that in the first nine months of 2014 a total of 301 police radios were recorded as being unaccounted for. T his number includes devices that cannot be located during audits and the Met Police said that many are later found.

No desktop computers or tablet devices were lost or stolen during the period.

There were claims that the losses could put the force at risk of a security breach.

Clare George-Hilley, director of the Parliament Street think tank, which obtained the figures, said: “The loss and theft of critical equipment not only costs a significant amount of money, but it potentially puts the organisation at risk of a security breach.

“Taxpayers need to be confident that expensive devices are managed securely and kept out of reach of criminals, with officers trained to reduce and prevent these incidents from occurring in the first place.”

The Metropolitan Police said it takes the loss of personal equipment “very seriously”.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: “We have measures in place to ensure MPS information is protected if a device is lost.

“We can take immediate action to disable a radio which is either unaccounted for or reported lost or stolen.

“Also handsets are password protected and encrypted to Government standards and become inoperable if they are tampered with.

“It should be noted that the number of devices unaccounted for or reported lost or stolen over the course of a year is a very small proportion of the total number of devices within our organisation of around 50,000 people.”

Scotland Yard was asked to provide a list of police equipment reported lost or stolen, by employees including civilian and police staff over the last five years.

Previous data has given an insight into the issue of thefts from police forces in the UK.

In 2012 a freedom of information request by the Press Association revealed that handcuffs, uniforms, speed guns and dogs were among items stolen from police stations around the country in the previous five years.

Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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