GARDAÍ are urging people to set up emergency contact information on their phones, which can be accessed even if the device cannot be accessed without a PIN code.
Crime prevention officer for Cork City, Sergeant Brian McSweeney, says that phones are recovered every year by gardaí and cannot be returned to their owners because the phones are locked and there is no way of getting contact details for emergency contacts of the phone owner.
He said phones recovered by gardaí in searches, for example, which cannot be reunited with their owners have to destroyed, according to protocol, after a year and a day.
Phones left behind in taxis, for example, are also regularly handed into gardaí.
“We are inundated with phones being handed in to garda stations,” he said.
And he said it is also important for people to have such details accessible if they become ill and somebody goes to their aid.
He said that if the contact details of next of kin or emergency contacts cannot be accessed without the PIN code, it is difficult for emergency personnel wishing to contact the person’s loved ones.
Gardaí now want to educate people about how to ensure their emergency contacts can be accessed even without a PIN code.
Sergeant McSweeney said that phone owners can ensure such information is readily available by going into the Emergency option on the screen when they are asked for the PIN code.
Then they can opt to add one or more numbers to an emergency list which can be accessed by anyone who finds their phone or needs to raise the alarm if the phone owner becomes ill.
A crime prevention video on how to install emergency contacts into your Apple iphone or Android phones can be accessed on the Garda Síochána Laois Offaly Facebook page.