The Home Office has said it is working with the biggest mobile phone firms in a bid to implement new security features that would make handsets less attractive to thieves.
Crime prevention minister Norman Baker met with the likes of Samsung, Google, Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry to consider new action against the growing problem.
At the meeting, manufacturers outlined a range of new security features that they are adding to smartphones which aim to make it harder for criminals to use stolen handsets.
Another idea – alongside new security features – is the introduction of an online advice service, which the government said would “give people ideas on how to better protect their phone”.
More than 800,000 handsets have been stolen in the past year alone across England and Wales, the Home Office said, with many of the handsets being sold overseas where the latest models are not yet available.
“We are seeing signs of an increase in theft from the person, mainly smartphones,” said Baker.
“Mobile phone technology is changing all the time and we need innovative solutions to ensure we get ahead of criminals. I want to make mobile phone theft as difficult as possible and this meeting with telecom leaders is an important step forward,” he added.
A Samsung spokesperson said that the South Korean firm was “pleased” to be supporting the government in its goal to reduce mobile phone theft.
“Samsung strongly encourages everyone to use the features available on their device to protect it in the event that it is lost or stolen and we are continuing to explore new and innovative ways to prevent the use of stolen devices,” the spokesperson said.