This post, which originally appeared as an article in Police Professional examines the implications for police forces of the Police (Property) Act 1897, civil claims for damages, potential pitfalls and practical steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of claims.
Police forces seize and retain huge quantities of property each year. Real problems can arise when property is retained for longer than necessary. The rise in value of electronic items and computers seized makes this a significant area of financial risk – a fact that many forces have not yet fully grasped.
The statutory machinery for seeking the permanent detention of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 is normally the domain of a force’s financial investigators and it is not addressed in this article.