Since 1st March 2019, Wiltshire Police no longer deal with the vast majority of lost and found property.
The decision is in line with a national move approved by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) last year after discussions between police forces.
Recording, storing, and disposing of found property costs police forces a great deal in time and money and often leaves forces with store rooms full of items that rarely get reunited with the owner.
Although police have always traditionally accepted lost and found property, there is no statutory duty for them to do so.
With this in mind, it was agreed that forces across the country would no longer accept lost and found property, except in certain circumstances.
“It’s always something we’ve offered above and beyond the core service of policing,” said a Wiltshire Police spokesperson, “but it also takes up lots of time and resource, which can be better spent dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour, especially when lost and found property is rarely a police matter.
“And nowadays there’s so many different ways that people can be reunited with their property, especially through social media, that we are trying to encourage people not to come to us but to try to deal with the matter themselves.”
Although most forces stopped taking lost property reports in October last year, and stopped taking found items in February, Wiltshire Police decided to introduce both changes at the same time, from 1st March.
The change is expected to affect the vast majority of lost and found items, although there are some exceptions:
Lost property they will continue to record:
• Firearms, ammunition, explosives or other weapons
• Poisonous, toxic or other dangerous chemicals
• Any foreign passport or other foreign identity document
Found property they will receive and record:
• All of the above plus;
• Any amount of cash.
• Anything that contains personal or sensitive data either electronically or in print (such as mobile phones, laptops, digital camera or diaries – to protect the data from fraudulent use)
All other items of found property should be dealt with by the finder, and items of lost property should be recorded appropriately.
There are a number of lost property websites where you can report your lost property such as www.swindon24.co.uk/lost-and-stolen-swindon.
It takes less than 3 minutes to list any lost or stolen items that Wiltshire Police will no longer take reports for. It will also be seen by hundreds of people living in and around the Swindon area within a matter of minutes.