Skip to content
Dial 999 in an emergency
Dial 101 in a non-emergency
AA | Accessibility
Logo - City of London Police
Report a crime online
A quick, convenient way to report crime and incidents.

Phone IMEI, lock and Location mapFollow our steps to help you to protect your phone

Protecting your mobile phone

It’s easy to be distracted in a busy environment such as a cafe, shop or bar, particularly when you’re in a hurry or have a lot on your mind. Which is why thieves will use crowded places as cover to steal phones and make a quick getaway in the resulting confusion.

Mobile phone thefts have been on the rise nationally and such thefts are a particular problem near stations and bus stops or in pubs, cafes and shops where opportunistic thieves will be on the lookout for easy pickings.

The City of London Police is using a combination of high-visibility patrols as well as plain clothes officers to counteract this problem.

Some simple tips to reduce the risk of falling victim to thieves

Be discreet when using your phone, don’t leave it on the table in bars and restaurants, and don’t leave your bags unattended.

Do not walk and text at the same time. Apart from putting you at risk of injury, the distraction of texting also leaves you vulnerable to would-be thieves passing by on foot or bike.

If you really need to make a call in a public place, try and keep the conversation as brief as possible. The longer you talk, the more likely it is you will attract the attention of a thief. Robbers have been known to scope out and keep an eye on potential victims, following them to quieter places where they can carry out their crime away from witnesses.

If you do have your phone stolen, report it to your service provider (network or carrier) as soon as possible so they can block the phone and prevent re-use. This is also important if your phone goes missing or is lost.

Also report the theft at your nearest police station and contact your phone insurance provider if you have taken out protection insurance on the handset.

Each phone carries a unique 15 digit numerical code known as an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. You can easily find out your phone’s IMEI by entering *#06# into the keypad. On most models a pop-up window will flash up on-screen with the IMEI. Alternatively on some older models, the IMEI is printed on the battery label. Simply make a note of this number and keep it in a safe place. Registering the IMEI with your network provider will make it easier for the phone to be barred across any network in the event of it being stolen.

Register your phone and other property at – it can help police return your property to you and catch thieves.

Use the keypad lock facility on your phone when you are not using it – if it is stolen, at least the thief cannot immediately access your network.

If your phone has just been stolen and the suspect is still in the area call police on 999. If your phone has been stolen and the suspect is no longer in the area, report it by calling 101, the non-emergency police number.

Activate (iphone and windows) or download a "find my phone" app (android) so that your phones location can be traced. Your phone may also enable you to manage the contents and activation lock remotely, so if it does end up in the wrong hands your device will remain secure.

Find out more about your devices features by clicking on the links below:

Should the City of London Police be made aware that such technology is available at the time of reporting and is activated on stolen property then if the tracking device highlights the possible location of the property the City of London Police will undertake live-time enquiries.

This will include a risk assessment of the location and attendance if a precise location can be established. In some instances, although there is an activation, if the tracker is activating in a built up area the precise location (eg house address) is not always possible.

For a small device (eg. phone, tablet, computer) that is not instantly visible there is a lower probability of locating in a densely built-up area. Any intelligence from such information will be recorded and assist in future investigations.

Finally, if you know of anybody stealing or handling mobile phones please let us know. You can call 101, report it online​, or information can be passed anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


Where's your mobile flyer​

Be aware of phone-snatchers flyer​​​​​​​​​