How we use communications data

Securing convictions: how communications data is used in investigations to fight crime, reduce fraud and to prevent terrorist attacks.

Terror attack on Glasgow airport, June 2007

Two car bombs were left outside a nightclub and in a street in London's West End but failed to detonate. Two mobile phones were discovered in the cars; both showed missed calls which were the attempts to detonate the bombs. Communications data from these phones gave the police a wealth of material and they soon knew who they were hunting for.

Following the car bomb attempts the two suspects fled from London, using public transport via Stratford, Stansted Airport and Stoke before heading to Scotland where they planned to launch a suicide attack on Glasgow Airport. The mobile phone recovered from the blazing Jeep at Glasgow Airport yielded valuable information for police building the case. Bilal Abdulla was found guilty of conspiracy to murder by planning car bomb attacks in 2007; his accomplice Kafeel Ahmed died from burns following the attack.

Drugs ring, Met Police, January 2010

Operation Frant led to the UK’s largest ever heroin seizure, 365 kilos. Following intelligence, police arrested the drugs runners in possession of the heroin and a detailed investigation of mobile phone call data around the time of the seizure led to the arrest of the two criminals masterminding the organised crime network. Four men involved have been jailed for a total of 81.5 years.

Gooch Gang, Manchester, April 2009

The Gooch Gang wreaked havoc on the streets of Manchester by dealing drugs and using an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons. Colin Joyce, 29, and Lee Amos, 33, who led the gang were described by a senior police officer as 'psychopaths who shoot for fun'. Communications data enabled officers to compile a hi-tech jigsaw of 80,000 mobile phone calls and texts to link the gang to their crimes. Eleven convictions (including two life sentences for Joyce) were secured as a result on 8 April 2009. 

Fraud website, SOCA, 2010

The Serious Organised Crime Agency investigated an online forum and website with 2,000 members who were selling stolen credit cards and identity documents online and spreading information about money laundering and electronic hacking. They used internet communications data to identify the locations of suspects around the world and subscriber information from an IP address gave them the identity of one of the key suspects. Further investigation of the data led them to other members of the group. Results:

  • two convictions resulting in imprisonment in UK
  • part of a global operation resulting in over 60 arrests

The financial investigation is ongoing but proceeds from the crime hearing are anticipated to be £500,000 from two UK defendants.

Share |

Internet links

(Links will open in a new window)

We are not responsible for the content of external websites.