213 suspected mobile phone thieves have been arrested in a joint EU-wide police operation in the UK and a further seven EU countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Romania). The coordinated operation against individuals and gangs behind smartphone theft led to 120 arrests in the UK alone and the seizure of 2401 stolen phones.
Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford, who has campaigned to retain EU police cooperation measures in the UK, commented:
“This is yet another example of how being in the EU can help us cooperate across borders in the fight against crime.”
“Liberal Democrats are leading the fight to keep Britain in Europe because being in helps us to bring criminals to justice and keep the British public safe.”
Giles Goodall, Lib Dem MEP candidate for South East England, added:
“Smartphone theft is a growing crime in the UK and across Europe, as many victims are all too aware. This successful operation is another example of how European cooperation helps fight crime and catch the perpetrators.
“Unfortunately, Ukip and the Tories would have us abandon these types of joint operations because of their anti-EU obsession. Lib Dems want us to stay in the EU so we can better keep our streets safe. Crime crosses borders. By working with our European neighbours we can make sure our police and justice systems catch up with them.”
Notes to Editors
See here the Europol press release in which Metropolitan Police Service Commander Christine Jones, who has been leading Operation Ringtone in London for the past year, is quoted as saying: “Operation Ringtone is not simply about mobile phone crime in London, but that which is committed across Europe.
“It is a fantastic, progressive and innovative operation. Not only are we working in London and with police forces across the country to tackle mobile phone crime, but through incredible work by our staff and partners we now have reach into Europe to tackle those criminals who attempt to exploit free movement in order to commit offences, often travelling to London and other UK cities for that purpose.
“Our Europol, European and National Crime Agency partners have been outstanding in both recognising the crime reduction and detection opportunities of our joint activity, and in providing leadership and impetus in targeting those individuals, of whatever nationality, who are intent on preying on our communities across Europe.”
In total 213 individuals have been arrested under the auspices of Operation Ringtone (including 120 in the UK, 33 in Bulgaria, 10 in Germany, 3 in Romania where an additional 120 suspects were identified, and 1 in Sweden) and 2401 mobile phones seized.