All police forces in England and Wales no longer take responsibility for the handing in and recording of missing valuables.
The public are now instructed to report lost property online, instead.
As a rule, police have stopped reporting or recording lost property. In fact, they also stopped issuing lost property reference numbers.
So, how should members of the public log their mislaid possessions?
They should use one of the online websites that deal with lost properties. Most notable are immobilise.com, lostbox.co.uk, and reportmyloss.com.
Note: These websites are already familiar to police forces in the United Kingdom. They provide information and details about lost property to forces and to insurance companies.
In fact, police forces have no legal duty to maintain a system of recording property. Of course, exceptions apply for properties used to provide evidence of a crime.
One of the Chief Constables clarified the issue on how the general public report lost property, by saying:
“The public have come to expect police forces to accept the responsibility of recording lost property. But, lost property reports have declined and the way we use this service has changed. Often, the main requirement is to validate lost property for insurance purposes.”
Note: Police continue taking an active role in reuniting people with their valuables. It will occur if they retrieve or find them later as stolen goods.
How to Report Lost Property Online
You would need to pay a fee to report a lost property item on reportmyloss.com. But, the service is free if you use immobilise.com and lostbox.co.uk.
Lostbox.co.uk was first launched back in 2012. They say they have since reunited over 35,000 items with their rightful owners (including pets). Their social media following of 150,000+ people helps them reach out to some 5 million people on a weekly basis.
Immobilise.com have some envious claims of their own too. They boast about being the largest free register of possession ownership details.
They register all account holders and details of their lost property on the police National Mobile Property Register (NMPR). Details of lost or stolen mobile phones also get recorded on CheckMEND.
Reportmyloss.com also track and record lost properties using the services of the NMPR system and those at CheckMEND.
A general recommendation by most British police forces is to register any item containing a serial number at www.immobilise.com
Police receive countless calls at the 101 number about lost or found property on a daily basis. Yet, few instances have a necessity for handing in items of property to the police. In most cases, the finder only needs to report a found item online, with no valid reason to hand it in at a police station.
Note: The public should still take anything found with a high value or hazardous to the station. Examples include cameras, laptops, mobile phones, or unidentifiable substances (e.g. drugs or offensive weapons).
Concerns for the Elderly and the Vulnerable
Community groups share their concerns for the most vulnerable people and older folks. They say the changes to reporting lost property could have a serious impact. After all, not everyone – including many older residents – are computer literate.
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After all, in this age of modern technology, many people are well capable of doing things online. But, not everyone – especially the elderly- will find it easy to go online to report lost property.
It could turn out to be a split between the young and the not so young. Agreed, reporting a lost property online should be automatic for most youngsters. On reflection, it may mean that more missing valuables actually get reported.
But, there is credence to the argument that is will be more difficult for older people. Few are computer savvy, so it is likely to be more of a problem.