Traditionally, recording all lost and found property has been part of the police’s role. However, major changes mean this will no longer be the case.
Although in the past the police accepted the responsibility of lost and found property, there has been no statutory duty to do so.
The recent national decision over lost and found property was approved by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) after discussions between police forces and the National Police Front Counters Forum (NPFCF).
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 eg mobile phones, computers, tablets,
Cash within wallets where an owner can be clearly identified,
Items suspected of being stolen or involved in crime,
Firearms and ammunition, explosives, chemicals – these can be reported online
- Found property that will be accepted and processed immediately:
Passports – UK, EU and International
Personal documentation (eg bank statements, benefit books),
Birth, marriage and death certificates,
- Found property that will no longer be accepted:
Empty handbags, bags, wallets and purses,
Reports on lost and found property can be made online.