As part of a new plan to make criminal investigations more efficient, the Metropolitan Police will begin using a data extraction tool to capture call records, GPS information and other data from mobile phones, even on phones with locked SIMs.
More than 300 police in 16 London boroughs will be trained to use the Aceso software, produced by the Southampton-based Radio Tactics, to investigate petty crimes such as burglary. The software will help eliminate, or reduce the lengthy turnaround times of labs to which phones were previously sent for data extraction.
"If we ended up with less people but better technology, and ended up being better at fighting crime, I'd say that wouldn't be a bad thing", the Met's new Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Though police will be able to bypass locked SIMs by requesting the relevant Pin Unlock Codes from network operators, it's unclear whether the tool will enable them to crack encryption on devices like BlackBerry smartphones, which were widely criticised as being used to plan some of the 2011 riots.