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Met ad campaign warns against false phone theft reports

LONDON - Londoners will be warned against making a false report of a stolen mobile phone in a new advertising campaign launched by the Metropolitan Police to combat the problem of people opting for 'insurance upgrades'.

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The Met estimates that 2,500 lie to police and say that the mobile phone that they have lost has been stolen. The Met says this takes police attention and time away from real crime, and inflates the figures for levels of robbery in the city, making the public feel unsafe.

The new ad campaign has been created by Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy and will target people in police stations, via posters, as well as in places where they are more likely to lose their phones, with beermats in pubs, and ads on taxi seats and bus headlines. A radio campaign will also run.

The message of the campaign is simple, saying: "Reporting a lost mobile phone as stolen is an offence." Different executions also use text language to represent handcuffs and prison bars. The campaign was written by Gavin Torrance and art directed by Danny Hunt. Anthony Martin is the account director at MCBD and media is through MediaCom.

It comes on the back of Operation Pavilion, which saw the Met make arrests at 12 mobile phone retail outlets across London. Part of the effort will be educating mobile phone retail staff that encouraging someone to make a false report to police is a crime.

People make the claim so that they can take advantage of their insurance policies and pick up the latest model of mobile phone for free.

Commander Brian Moore, in charge of the Met's Territorial Policing Crime Directorate, said: "I think that many people who falsely report their mobile phone as stolen don't think they are, in fact, committing a crime and don't think about the consequences."

The Met's ad campaign move has been backed by the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum.

Jack Wraith, chairman of the forum, said: "This is another initiative that demonstrates the commitment of police and industry to address the problems of false reporting and to encourage customers to correctly report mobile phones as having been lost, thus reducing the resources that both the industry and police have to allocate to investigating non crime."

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