Get the intel you need. Fast. Link people, property, places and events

The National Mobile Phone Property Register is a powerful tool that can identify stolen electronic devices but it is often underused by investigators. Andrew Kewley, Head of Policing Solution at Recipero explains its benefits.


This is not a sales pitch – but it may be the break you need to progress a case you’re working

on, so please, take a few minutes to read this article. The victims you seek justice for are

counting on you to use all the tools at your disposal.


There is one tool you have (it’s already paid for – see, no sales pitch) but you are probably not

getting all you can from it. This tool provides intelligence that is unique and does not require

any special powers, data permissions or requests. 


The starting point for a search is the serial number of an item – any item that has a unique

identifier. It could be a high-end watch or camera, a games console, tablet, power tool, perhaps

even some jewellery. Of course, the ubiquitous use of mobile phones means they should

feature heavily.



Still, the fundamental principle here is that a large amount of property does carry a unique

identifier of some kind, and this presents valuable investigative opportunities. Rarely will a

suspect or the subject of a Section 1 stop not have a mobile phone. Victims of crime (not just theft) will typically have had a phone or other consumer electronics item they may have been carrying taken from them during the incident. 


The footprint of these identifiable devices is a rich source of intelligence. Where they were bought, offered for trade, insured or recycled are obvious data points perhaps. But what about the device you’ve recovered being on a crime report from another force? Or marked as of interest to another investigation? Is a custody subject in possession of a device that’s of interest to your force or others? The same tool that provides answers to these questions also records your activity and answers those same questions for your colleagues in other agencies. 



A key dataset searched by the tool is one created

by owners registering their details for the specific

purpose of sharing their details with police. It’s a

consented database enabling device attribution with

over 45 million pieces of property and 25 million

individuals registered. It grows by several thousand

registrants each month and is orders of magnitude

larger than all the niche registration databases put

together and supports all types of property. 


Other datasets include the largest source of loss

reports in the UK and over five million second-hand

trade attempts every month; each leaving a footprint

on the device history. From the world’s largest retailers

to owner-operated high street traders, data is consented

and given willingly during due-diligence activity. 


When seizing and interrogating devices of any type,

forensic examination of the contents and the device

will be considered a standard task. However, before

that task, there is a wealth of intelligence in the

device’s history that can provide insight and lines of

enquiry otherwise impossible to determine. 



The tool we’re talking about is the National Mobile Property Register (“NMPR”) Device Attribution Platform. NMPR has over 40,000 users among police officers and staff, each of whom leaves a footprint with every search that could be invaluable to your next investigation. Cited in many forces’ standard operating procedure for custody suites, property handling and investigations, only NMPR delivers insight from the real-time connectivity between the public, traders, retailers, police forces, regional units and other government departments and agencies. All are connected by one, unique, easy to use portal that will link your investigation to sources of data not routinely considered but highly relevant to investigations. 


Whatever the need, searching The NMPR every time a device, item of property or a serial number is available at every level of policing can reveal links with people and places over time and across force boundaries. 


An example where a simple search delivers a great outcome is a high-value burglary involving the theft of a large volume of jewellery and a mobile handset. The handset serial number was searched in NMPR revealing that same device had been searched by another force from custody where a nominal was under arrest for a public order offence. Contact between the investigating officer and the arresting force led to further enquiries linking the nominal to another ten burglaries for which he was found guilty. Without the custody suite NMPR search and the investigation search, this suspect may have been released to offend again leaving eleven offences still on the books. 



Collecting and analysing this data in real-time as the NMPR does, provides benefits not immediately apparent. The identification of false-reporting patterns, monitoring accuracy of crime recording, the highlighting of linked activity whether that be device movement or previously unknown associates. Even the practices, good and bad of traders in your force area and the impact they can have on acquisitive crime and conversion opportunities.


A major crime enquiry with a large volume of communications data involved saw patterns of regular breaks in the data. Provided with the device serial numbers, NMPR was able to show devices moving in and out of the pawnbroking markets where the suspects were routinely selling those devices and repurchasing them in an attempt to conceal their activity. Such analysis identified movement patterns of individuals and related parties. 


The wins are out there for you. A few seconds search from your PC, laptop, mobile or control room is all it takes. Simple best practices make a massive difference to outcomes for your investigation and the victims you’re trying to help. 


To get the most out of NMPR, make sure you:

  • Connect with your force NMPR SPoC or volunteer yourself!

  • Search every phone number, serial number, IMEI number or landline each time you have any contact with them for any reason.

  • Mandate the searching of all property brought into custody suites – guidance is available but suffice to say you are permitted to do this.

  • Most forces upload crime data automatically to NMPR – check that yours does

  • Make your go-to crime reduction & public engagement tool for property registration. It’s free!

  • Improve crime recording standards for devices, use NMPR during recording to confirm serial number accuracy and reduce false reporting. 


The fee your force is already paying provides for unlimited users and searches. There are no per-search fees or licence restrictions. Awareness training, support, witness statements to back up NMPR results and even expert court testimony are all provided without charge. Our dedicated policing team includes highly experienced former police officers with operational experience of NMPR use. 


Interested in a free trial?

If you want to arrange a trial for your force then email

Contact details: Recipero Ltd, Corinium House, Corinium Avenue, Gloucester, GL4 3HX. United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 333 880 6658


NMPR results screen is for illustration only, not real data

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