Case Studies

Radio Tactics

Stemming the flow of mobile phone thefts

Radio Tactics

About Radio Tactics

Radio Tactics Ltd is a specialist innovator of high technology solutions used by both government and industry in the acquisition and management of digital information technology. The company aim is to provide customers with forensically sound tools to be used for the secure acquisition, migration, and analysis of digital information from smart card and cellular equipment platforms.

Requirements

Radio Tactics Ltd (RTL) required a portable device to help them implement their innovative software application for use in helping to combat mobile phone crime.

Their Apollo software instantly scans the barcode inside the back of a mobile phone and then automatically checks it against a national database.

Mobile phone crime accounts for up to 50% of all street crime (and some 10% of all crime) within the UK. "We designed the Apollo software so that it could be used with a barcode scanner to read the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number inside a mobile phone," said Andy Gill, Managing Director at RTL. With our system, a police officer on the beat would be able to use a scanner to read the barcode and transmit it electronically for rapid checking against the NMPR database."

The solution

After extensive trialling of devices, supplied by The Barcode Warehouse, the hardware that the company finally chose for their application was the Honeywell Dolphin® 7600 with GSM. Using mobile computers in this application eliminated human error and increased speed and efficiency. The devices also made a powerful contribution to increasing the detection rate of mobile phone theft. Initially the Barcode Warehouse provided a number of Honeywell Dolphin® 7900 units, which at the time, was by far the best unit they had tested and incorporated all of the features that they wanted.

Since then, they changed over to the Honeywell Dolphin® 7600 with GSM, as this was even more compact than the 7900 and could be used with either a charger or a cradle. Both devices contain the HD 5300 scan engine which is able to read the linear and 2D codes found in many mobile phones.

Radio Tactics started trials of its new Apollo solution with various UK police forces. Some started using it on the beat; some in custody suites; and some to re-check phones that had previously been collected as evidence of misdemeanours.  Over a four month period in 2008, over 3,000 checks were carried out by 283 different officers using 23 Apollo's. One particular police force, Hertfordshire Constabulary, has bought 16 scanners which will be distributed across the force and the joint Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Major Crime Teams.

Benefits

Feedback from Hertfordshire Constabulary is that there are many benefits to using the Apollo solution. Not only does it eliminate human error and increases speed and efficiency, particularly when dealing with a large stash of handsets, if a phone that shows up as stolen on the database is found in someone's possession, it can give officers on the street grounds to arrest.