Lost and found

The way the Constabulary handles lost and found property is changing.

Suffolk Constabulary handles a large amount of lost and found property at police station front counters, costing the organisation a significant amount of money each year.

Police have no statutory obligation to deliver this service and as part of the Suffolk Local Policing Review implemented in April 2016, procedures have been reviewed.

Front counters are open to the public in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.  Certain types of lost and found property are accepted at these front counters, but members of the public are encouraged to consider whether the item in question should be returned to an alternative agency. 
Examples include driving licences which should be sent to the DVLA and bank cards which should be returned to banks. 
If you do not live near one of the three police stations that are open to the public and you are unsure about what to do with an item of found property, please call 101 for advice.
 
From autumn 2016, an enhanced online service will be available as part of a new website to assist members of the public in dealing with these items.  From this time police front counters will no longer accept lost and found property.  Publicity will be issued in advance of this change. Items linked to crime will continue to be managed by the constabulary.
 
This is part of a significant project underway to improve the Constabulary’s web based communication channels, reflecting changing methods in which the public choose to communicate.
 
Members of the public are encouraged to consider registering high value items of property on the website www.immobilise.comLink to an external website which will help police identify whether a found item is linked to crime.

FROM AUTUMN 2016
When our new website goes live in Autumn 2016, the following advice will be given:
Police will accept found property if:

  • is believed to be related to a crime
  • poses a direct threat to the public
  • contains personal details relating to the owner.

What should I do if I have lost something?

If you've lost property such as cash, identification, cards, handbags, cycles etc, re-trace your steps and contact the places you've visited to see if they have it. The premises listed below should have their own lost and found procedures:

  • Licensed premises (pubs, nightclubs)
  • Private premises (house, hotel, hostel)
  • Taxi companies and businesses (shops, supermarkets)
  • Public transport (trains, buses, trams) and educational premises.

If you are unsuccessful, the following may be of assistance:

Driving licence, passport or other identification cards
Report the loss directly to the issuing authority.  

Credit, debit or store card
Report the loss to the issuer.  They will cancel the card(s) and arrange replacements.

Mobile telephone
Contact your service provider as soon as possible.

Handbag, purse or wallet
Contact the issuers of any bank or credit cards as above.

Keys
Consider changing lock to ensure your property remains secure.

Blue badge
Report the loss to the local authority that issued the document.

My insurance company has asked for a reference number?
When we change our procedure later this year, we won’t take reports of lost property so are unable to issue lost property reference numbers.

I have found some property - can I keep the item?
You can't keep the item if;

  • you keeping it would be unlawful (eg firearms, drugs, explosives, offensive weapons etc). You should call us on 101.
  • we believe it is evidence of a crime, eg a large sum of cash, a weapon, or the location where it was found was unusual. Call us on 101 so we can check the item against existing reports.
  • it shows someone's identity or may be used fraudulently or to commit other crimes (e.g. credit/debit cards, DSS books, cheques etc). You must contact the issuing authority.
  • it contains, or potentially contains, personal data. Call us on 101 to discuss the circumstances in which it was found.
  • it is an official or confidential document. This includes anything belonging to a Government Department or Armed forces, whether UK or foreign; and confidential personal documents which identify an individual. You must contact the issuing authority.

Only if the item you've found is not listed above and you've made reasonable attempts to trace the legal owner can you assume lawful ownership of the item.
However the original owner will always retain the right to reclaim the property.

What do you mean by reasonable steps?
If you find an item on private property, including car parks, you should contact the owner / manager.
In other situations, you could put a notice in the local shop or near where you found it.  Social media is another useful tool. 

Can I throw it away or sell it?
You can dispose of an item (give to charity or sell it) if you've made reasonable attempts to locate the owner.

NOTE:  If the owner finds the item for sale and is made aware that you sold it, common law entitles them to the money you received from the sale. If you give the item to charity you should advise them that the item is not yours and that you found it.

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