Police scanning system aims to beat the burglars

Acting inspector Rob Sutton with one of the new Immobiliser laptops which are being tested by police in Portsmouth.
Acting inspector Rob Sutton with one of the new Immobiliser laptops which are being tested by police in Portsmouth.

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PEOPLE can get help to protect their property from thieves thanks to a new police scanning system.

Crime prevention officers in Portsmouth have been given four laptop computers and scanners which they are using to help victims of crime and residents.

The officers are offering to scan serial numbers of electrical goods ranging from mobile phones to iPods and cameras.

They then set up individual accounts containing details of each person’s property, which is held on an online property register called Immobilise.

Photographs and details of individual features can also be added.

Police hope the free service will help deter crooks, give people more peace of mind, and enable officers to reunite more victims with their property if it is stolen.

Acting Inspector Rob Sutton, from Portsmouth’s City Centre Unit, said: ‘We are offering it to victims and we are also trying to get to people across the city.

‘This in itself doesn’t stop a crime from happening, but we are asking people to put posters and stickers in their windows which say that property has been security marked. It might then help deter a burglar.

‘If someone steals property that has been immobilised it becomes a lot harder for them to dispose of that property.

‘If they go to a second-hand shop, for example, they will check whether the property has been registered with Immobilise – and we can check to see if something has been stolen. It reduces the choices for burglars trying to off load stolen property.

‘From an investigation point of view, when we execute a search warrant we can scan property in there and if it shows up as stolen we will seize it – and we will be asking how it got there.’

As well as being offered to crime victims and residents, police took the devices to this year’s Bestival festival on the Isle of Wight last month.

There they offered festival-goers the chance to get their property registered.

If an item of your registered property is stolen victims can inform the police and then log on to their account on Immobilise and update the status of the item or items.

The system is linked to the National Mobile Property Register, which enables police to enter serial numbers of stolen items they have recovered against the property registered. This can result in items of stolen property being returned to their owner and more offenders being brought to justice.

Visit hampshire.police.uk/immobilise