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Exclusive: Met Police loses 809 laptops and mobile phones since 2010

24 Apr 2013
Metropolitan Police officer on the streets of London

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has lost 809 devices including laptops, BlackBerrys and other mobile phones since 2010, V3 has learnt.

A Freedom of Information request to the Met revealed that 534 mobile phones and 115 BlackBerry devices have been lost since 2010. Additionally, 24 laptops and 136 PDAs have also been lost. To date, though, no tablets have been lost. However, data on their use only dates to 2012. See the table below for a breakdown of all device losses since 2010.

V3 asked the Met for a distinction between BlackBerry devices and mobile phones as recorded in the data but had received no reply at the time of publication.

The information comes to light after the BBC revealed it had lost 785 devices in the same period. The BBC is now being investigated by the ICO over the losses.

However, unlike the BBC, the Met has confirmed all the devices were encrypted, thereby ensuring no personal information should be at risk from the losses.

"The Met is a large organisation which employs around 50,000 people. When a phone is lost or stolen, it is immediately deactivated," a spokesperson from the Met told V3.

Although the figures on device losses appear high the Met pointed out they are only a fraction of their overall device use. For instance, the loss of 181 mobile phones in 2010 was just 0.9 percent of all devices in use. This indicates around 20,000 devices are in use by Met staff.

Similarly, the loss of 11 laptops in 2011 equated to 0.2 percent of all devices in use. This suggests around 5,500 laptops are owned by the MPS.

Table showing Met Police device loss since 2010

Above: Table showing device loss since 2010 by Met Police

Earlier this month V3 also revealed that six serving officers had been sacked for 'offensive' posts on social media sites.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

View Dan's Google+ profile

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