Added: Monday 30 April 2012
Please note that this is archived material and may not necessarily reflect the current position of Northamptonshire Police
POLICE are urging smart phone users to consider the benefit of uploading a tracker app onto their phone.
Even if a phone has GPS built in, police cannot locate a stolen or missing phone unless the tracker app is fitted and enabled.
Once the app is loaded onto the phone, the user is able to visit a website, log in with a personal passcode and then immediately see a map that pinpoints the location of their device wherever it may be.
Some apps also have options of sounding an alarm on the phone, allowing the user to locate the device by sound or scare off a potential thief.
Many also have the option of remotely setting new passcodes or wiping the phone clean of all personal data if it is thought the device is lost for good.
Detective Inspector Ally White, the Force's lead for robbery reduction and investigation, said: "Tracking apps and services can be a valuable tool in solving crime, as long as the user is diligent about keeping their phone locked when not in use.
"Tracking services can be worth the investment, but only if a smartphone or notebook user is willing to use adequate security precautions to prevent a thief from disabling the location tracking service on a device.
"A simple four-digit passcode on smartphones or tablets can defeat most attempts and delay the best of hackers, buying valuable time to begin the live search for a missing or stolen device. There also are services offering tracking features for laptops.
"I would also warn users not to be fooled into thinking that they have the detective skills to retrieve their stolen items themselves.
"While some people have been able to confront the thief and retrieve their items, the risk involved to reclaim property is not worth taking and it may also jeopardise the future investigation by undermining the continuity of evidence."