The other day I was sat in the Investigation Team office with a serious look on my face as I was busy with some very serious police work. I would have continued with said serious work were it not for two response officers wondering in with a PlayStation 3 under their arms.
What was happening? Why weren’t they out fighting crimes?
Well, I think several on my team were hopeful there was about to be an impromptu FIFA tournament – teams were picked and the location of the nearest TV was discussed.
Luckily for me this was not to be the case (my FIFA skills extend no further than repeatedly pressing the ‘hoof the ball into the stands’ button), rather the console they thought might be stolen and they wanted someone to check it to confirm it as being ‘hot’ property.
Breaking my concentration from a particularly engaging prosecution file, I volunteered to help out as I am one of the many officers with access to the National Mobile Property Register (NMPR).
The National what you ask?
Well, as I’ve referenced previously, the NMPR is a big old archive of property that we bobbies can browse when we recover items to see if they’ve been nicked.
By using the totally free Immobilise website, you can build up a ‘vault’ of all your valuables with their serial numbers and even photographs which is then added to the NMPR. We then use this incredibly useful system to help reunite stolen goods with their rightful owners.
Having logged on, we took down the console’s serial number and I tapped it into the NMPR to see what results we got.
Internet cogs turned, the computer made a few grinding noises and half a second later we got a bright red notification linked to the serial number confirming that the PlayStation was indeed stolen property.
This wasn’t all we got though, we also got crime details relating to the original theft meaning we were able to contact the police force that had dealt and arrange for the item to be returned to its rightful owner.
To work as it did in this example, property needs to be registered in the first place so without hesitation I’d encourage you to go and do the following:
- Make a note of the serial numbers on all your various gadgets and gizmos
- Take photos of jewellery and other keepsakes that might lack serial numbers
- Get yourself over to www.immobilse.com and register everything on the National Mobile Property Register for free
So there we have it, three simple steps that you can take here and now to drastically increase the chances of getting your wares back if they fall into the wrong hands.
There was no FIFA tournament for either us or the criminals as arrangements were made to get the console returned to its rightful owner, all because that owner had taken the very sensible step of registering it in advance.