Friday, May 02, 2003

PITO, ACPO and Bumblebee

PITO is supporting a project to improve the way forces manage lost and recovered property.

The organisation's Police Public Interface team is tracking development of the service as a potential future add-on to the Police Portal that currently features non-urgent crime notification.

Dealing with lost and recovered property touches more than 80 per cent of police business, from property handed in at the police station to goods recovered following a crime or major incident.

The three basic stages involved in dealing with property are:

1. management (documentation and internal movement of property within the force)
2. advertising (attempts to identify the loser or owner of property) and
3. disposal through sale.

Two websites that interact with each other have been designed to tackle the last two stages.

The first phase of the roll-out, supported by ACPO, deals with the advertising site. This allows members of the public to report property or animals they have lost and to advertise that loss.

Owners can post descriptions and pictures, change the status of an item if it is found, or add further items. Being able to advertise across all force areas is useful because property and animals are often recovered far from where they were last seen.

In addition, forces can elect to adopt the found and recovered property display facility and/or the auction system. The auction facility receives items direct from the advertising system after owners have been given a reasonable amount of time to claim their property.

They are sold on a seven-day auction with no reserve. Normally all profits go towards crime prevention charities.


Forces including Devon & Cornwall Constabulary and Wiltshire Constabulary have moved into the pilot stage of the advertising system.

The initiative is being developed for possible national implementation along the lines of, the internet-based property advertising and reporting solution, and - the disposal system used by Surrey Police.