Today's letter of the law, S for "Seizures" sees a behind the scenes look at property seizures by West Midlands Police.
This latest letter sees the release of several exclusive images with accompanying audio that lets you see and hear about some of the invaluable work that goes on behind the scenes by our specialist property officers.
The photos and audio focus on three key locations; the property store at Birmingham Central police station, the secure drug and jewellery store, and finally the police armoury.
Karen Burton, currently has responsibility for looking after any drugs and jewellery that has been seized by officers. Karen discusses the range of jewellery that is seized, police auctions, and the procedure behind drugs destruction.
Property Officer, Steve Hastilow from tells us about the process behind seized property and discusses the range of items currently in the property store.
Anthony Field works in the police armoury; hear him talk about the range of weapons kept in the store as well as how firearms are dismantled and destroyed.
PC Gareth Pemberton, Crime reduction officer, talks about the importance of property marking and registration to help officer return seized property to their rightful owner.
Frequently asked questions:
Please find below some frequently asked questions surrounding property seizures.
What property can the police seize and why?
Officers can seize any property that is ‘on the person’ when arrested, and in addition any items of property that the person owns which may be of interest to the investigation. This could include suspected stolen property or computers and phones.
After leaving custody, any items that are not needed for evidential purposes are returned whilst anything else is kept in police storage facilities.
Where and how is property stored?
Each local policing unit has a specialist storage facility staffed by dedicated property officers. There are separate stores for firearms, drugs and jewellery.
Each piece of property will be logged on the police property system and is bagged and sealed.
How and when can people get property back?
The police can keep any property relevant to an investigation until the conclusion of the case. After this point and depending on the type of item and outcome of the case, the property can be released, destroyed or sent to auction. For, example drugs or firearms would be destroyed, whereas a stolen bike whose owners cannot be traced will be auctioned.
What sort of items can be auctioned?
Any items deemed suitable by our specialist property officers can be sent for auction, this could range from tools and bikes, to alcohol and garden furniture. Any items that contain personal information such electronic devices with inbuilt hard drives are not sent to auction.
Property is only sent to auction if all efforts to trace the original owners have been exhausted. You can find out more about your local police auction here.
Who will get the money from the auction?
Any money raised from the auctioned property falls under the Police Property Act (PPA) fund which helps local communities and charities.
I have questions relating to property in storage and I want to find out more?
You can find out more by contacting your local police on 101.