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Police announce changes on how they handle and record found property

All police forces nationally will no longer record reports or accept responsibility for some found property items.

The national decision was approved by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) after discussions between police forces and the National Police Front Counters Forum (NPFCF). Traditionally, police have accepted the responsibility of recording lost and found property, although there is no statutory duty to do so. This change follows recent amendments to the way police record lost property.

Chief Inspector Roy Hodder said: “Police services are under increasing pressure to reduce non-essential demand. The public are encouraged to retain the property themselves and try to reunite it with its owner wherever possible. In all cases reasonable steps to trace the owner should be made.

“Items that contain personal data should be reported to the issuing authority for example, the relevant bank for a debit card. If you are unable to do this and you hand it in to the police, we will forward this onto them for you. The card will not be retained by the police.

“If you find an item on licensed premises, private premises, such as a hotel, house, in a taxi, on public transport, on business premises or educational premises, you should hand it to staff as they should operate their own lost and found procedures.

“If you find an item and you believe it is stolen or has been involved with a crime, please report this to us online, via 101 or visit your local police station.”

Found property that will continue to be accepted and recorded by police includes:

Items capable of containing data e.g mobile phones, computers, tablets

Cash within wallets where an owner can be clearly identified

Unidentifiable cash

Items suspected of being stolen or involved in crime

Firearms and ammunition, explosives, chemicals – these can be reported online

Drugs

Watches

Jewellery

Found property that will be accepted and processed immediately:

Passports – UK, EU and International

Bank cards

Identity cards

Personal documentation (e.g. bank statements, benefit books)

Birth, marriage and death certificates

Driving licences

Found property that will no longer be accepted:

Bicycles

Empty handbags, bags, wallets and purses

Cases

Clothing

Perishable goods

Animals

Rubbish/waste

Umbrellas

Keys

Spectacles

Reports on lost and found property can be made online.