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Officers can seize any property that is 'on the person' when arrested. They can also take 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. Anything else is kept in police storage facilities.
Please find below some frequently asked questions about property seizures.
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, bagged and sealed.
The police can keep any property relevant to an investigation until the end of the case. After this point and depending on the type of item and outcome of the case, the property can be returned, destroyed or sent to auction. Drugs and firearms would be destroyed. Items such as a stolen bike whose owners cannot be traced will 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 containing personal information, such as 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.
Any money raised from the auctioned property falls under the Police Property Act (PPA) fund which helps local communities and charities.
You can find out more by contacting your local police on 101.
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