top of page
  • Writer's picturePolice station agent

Getting Your Property Returned By The Police In The UK

Getting Property Back - Mobile phones

In order to get your property back after your release from Police detention in the Uk you need to follow these simple steps:

Confirm with the investigating officer that the property is no longer needed as either an exhibit in a court case or that it needs to be retained for further investigation as to its ownership. Property that has been seized by the police will not be returned if it is needed as an exhibit or there is doubt as to your ownership. You will need to provide proof to the investigating officer that the property is actually yours. Generally the police will expect you to provide things like receipts etc if the item has been bought or some kind of proof that the item is legally yours. Please note that things like a V5 for a motor car is not proof of ownership and police will generally expect to see some kind of paper trail as to your ownership of the items concerned .

You will need written confirmation from the investigating officer that the item (s) will be returned to you.

Usually every police force have their own internal procedures. They can most often be found on the relevant police force's website.

You will need the investigating officer's name, force number and telephone number if you wish to make any enquiries about it.

Most UK police forces have a contact facility on their website. If not phone the police control room using 101 and they can usually leave a message for the investigating officer who will pick it up when he or she are next on shift. If you are not sure of the details look for any papers that you were given by the police when your were released i.e. bail paperwork. It will probably be on that.

Be prepared for a wait

Most UK police forces store property at a central location i.e. car pound or a

property office. You will need to take any authority from the police officer and

in some cases make an appointment in order to pick the property up. The police will only return the property if they can do so legally. If there is any doubt as to its ownership they will retain it. They will normally return the property to its registered owner and only if in doing so that person will not commit a criminal offence. I.e. if you are picking up a motor car they will expect to see your full driving licence and insurance as well as any registration documents. If you do not have a licence, do not have insurance or your documentation is not in order they will not release it to you

Please note that if you simply turn up at the police station expecting your property to be returned to you there and then you are likely to be disappointed.

Most police forces in the UK will not release property if they do not have a written authorisation from the officer in the case that it can be released .

Do not expect your solicitor or legal representative to get the property back for you free of charge or do work you can easily do yourself.

Criminal solicitors or legal representatives in England and Wales do not get paid by the legal aid agency to spend time to get property returned from the police in the uk. . With the paltry figure of legal aid funding being what it is any criminal solicitor in the UK can simply not afford to chase police officers to get your property back. Even if they do that property may then become subject to a statutory charge if you have signed legal aid forms . Most solicitors simply do not have time.

Be prepared to go to court to get your property back

Property can be seized using civil proceedings by the police. Usually this is done there will be a court hearing when you can make representations to the court as to why you should get that property back. This is a civil court matter and is not usually legally aided. You may also decide that you wish to make a complaint to the magistrates court regarding your property and issue proceedings. This is not covered by legal aid and would have to be paid for privately.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page