POLICE are running a campaign this week to encourage people to be more vigilant about personal robberies.
A week of action, as part of an initiative to help tackle personal robberies in the north of the county, centres on crime prevention and personal safety.
Letters will be given to pupils and students, and posters displayed at schools and higher education sites, offering advice and encouraging them to register their mobile phones, laptops, iPads and notebooks on a free national database, www.immobilise.com.
The service is free to use, and police can check items recovered from suspected criminals against the national register.
Events will also be held at schools, college and university sites where officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) will help people get their mobile data devices registered.
Officers and PCSOs will also be asking town centre shopping areas, pubs and clubs to help get the message across by displaying posters to remind people not to leave their mobiles on tables and to take care when using a handset.
In Leek, local officers will be at Aldi, in Haywood Street, on Friday, December 13, from 10am until 4pm. Officers will also be at Leek High School encouraging youngsters to register their items.
The officers will be on hand to help people register to the Immobilise scheme.
Chief Inspector Martin Brereton, who is heading the initiative, said: "More and more pupils and students not only have mobile phones but also lap tops, iPads and notepads. To try and halt an increase in street robberies, our aim is to encourage people of all ages to be cautious - to be aware of their own personal safety and also keeping their property safe.
"We are suggesting that where possible people should avoid walking on their own.
"Instead walk with friends or near a group of people going in the same direction. Not to walk and talk on their mobiles could stop a would-be thief snatching it out of your hand.
"More and more people, especially the young, now carry expensive mobile devices. If they are lost or stolen they also lose important data relevant to their studies as well as personal data. We also have a strong message to would-be robbers – we will also be out-and-about patrolling areas to keep people safe.
"And, we would urge people not to be tempted to 'buy a bargain' from someone selling on the street, in pubs/clubs or car boot sales as mobile phones don't work once service providers have been told they are lost or stolen."
Owners of smart phones, tablet computers and mp3 players are also urged to take advantage of tracking apps available to download.
Everyone can register their property on www.immobilise.com – it's free and easy to use, all you need is the unique IMEI number off your phone/
Simply dial *#06# to bring the number up on your screen, and the serial number of any items you wish to register.