Ruffley campaigns to reduce child victims of mobile phone thefts in Suffolk

Monday, 23 February, 2009

David Ruffley MP, Shadow Minister for Police Reform, and PC Jim Kidd are visiting St Benedict's School, Bury St Edmunds on Friday, 27 February 2009.

They will be advising children on crime prevention and personal safety and promoting Suffolk Constabulary's PROTECT IT, REGISTER IT campaign which encourages everyone to register their property on the website. Mr Paul Rossi, Headteacher of St Benedict's, has kindly arranged a special meeting of the School Council to meet Mr Ruffley and PC Kidd.

David Ruffley initiated this visit as a result of his concern at receiving new figures from Suffolk Constabulary which show that children as young as 10 are falling victim to mobile phone theft in Suffolk.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 reveal that, in 2007, 157 children under the age of 15 fell victim to mobile phone theft in Suffolk. This figure was down marginally on the previous year, however, thefts from children aged 12- 13 were at their highest recorded level.

David wrote to the Chief Constable, Simon Ash, asking for his input on what measures can be employed to warn both parents and children over the risks of mobile phone theft. In his reply, the Chief Constable drew attention to the PROTECT IT, REGISTER IT campaign and their main advice which is to avoid displaying your property unnecessarily and never leave it unattended.

David said:

"I was shocked at the number of children who have been victims of mobile phone theft so I want to do all I can to raise awareness of the problem and ensure children are aware of how they can best protect themselves and their property.

"I am sure that parents across Suffolk will find it worrying that children as young as 10 are falling victim to mobile phone theft and that thefts from 12 to 13-year-olds are at their highest recorded level.

"Over recent years more and more parents have provided their children with mobile phones and these figures reflect that increase. It is, of course, important for parents to be able to keep in contact with their children, however, mobile phones are valuable items and an attractive target for thieves.

"While not wanting to be alarmist, I would urge parents to be aware of this risk and encourage their children to be discreet when using their phone and to keep it in a safe location. The police can't tackle this problem on their own.

"We are fortunate in Suffolk to have an excellent police force and I thank the Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary, Simon Ash, for facilitating my visit to St Benedict's School by providing one of his officers to advise the children on how to protect themselves and their property.

"You can register your mobile on - it only takes a few minutes."

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