Mobile phone Identity theft
Do you really have to wait for a Home Office PR wonk to explain it?
This refers to a phone that has been stolen being given the identity of a legitimate phone to bypass the network IMEI barring by reprogramming the handset's IMEI number as every handset in the world is supposed to have a unique IMEI or Internetional Mobile Equipment Identifier.
The IMEI identifies the phone while the SIM or USIM (in UMTS) identifies the subscriber intormation hence it is called the Subscriber Identity Module or Universal Subsciber Identity Module (meaning it has the encryption keys for both 2G and 3G networks).
Roger Cook (I think) did an investigation about phone theft and featured some information from Cellnet as it then was that when they did a network audit they found 10 mobiles with the same IMEI operating on the network so if they had barred them they would likely bar a legitimate subscriber too.
So from this I would infer that this figure refers to either how many collaborators of thieving scum they have arrested for reporgraaming or how many apparently dupiicate phones networks have seen log on to their networks.
I have nothing to declare other than a sound knowledge of the technology.
Don't count on hearing back from hearing back from the wonk that soon as people in the Home Office probably don't know what they are talking about either.