How can I get my property back from the police station independently?

16 November 2023

Our office is unable to organise the return of client personal property and such assistance is unfortunately not something that is covered by public funds, however we have set out useful information about securing the return of property below. 


What happens to my property that is seized? 

When individuals are arrested, police often seize personal possessions such as mobile phones, computers, clothing and money if they suspect that such items may assist with their investigation into a crime. After police have carried out their enquiries and completed their forensic examination of such items, a decision will be made regarding whether they are of evidential value to the investigation. If such items do form part of a police case, unfortunately that item will be retained by the police until the conclusion of any prosecution. However, where enquiries have been completed and such items do not form part of any police case, your property should be returned to you. 


How can I get my property back? 

Alternatively, our advice to help you secure the return of your property independently is as follows : 

  • Make contact with the Officer (officer in case) who dealt with the investigation before you attend any Police Station and try to collect your property. 
  • Find out the Officer’s email address or mobile number. If Sonn Macmillan Walker represented you at the police station, our office will be happy to supply this information to you. 
    For Metropolitan officers, their email address will usually be their warrant number followed by, for example 
  • Ask the Officer to confirm that they have authorised for the release of your property back to you. 
  • Ask the Officer to confirm where your property is. It may be that it is not in the same police station you were detained in when arrested. 
  • If the Officer is not personally returning the property to you and instead asks you to collect it from a Property Store, check the Officer has informed the Property Store that the items can be returned. 
  • Property Stores are not open 24 hours a day. Find out what hours the Property Store is open at the Police Station you need to collect your property from. The usual opening hours are between 8am-3pm. 
  • When you attend to collect your property, take the following with you if possible: 
  1. Your custody number from when arrested. 
  1. Some type of formal identification 
  1. A copy of any written correspondence you have had with the police regarding the return of your property 

Please be assured that dealing with the officer directly is the fastest and most effective way to secure the return of your property, and do not hesitate to get in touch with us regarding the officer’s details and your custody number if you have not been supplied with them already. 

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Alex Whitmore

Associate Director

Alex is the head of our police station department. She was made Associate Director in 2023 and is one of the firms leading Magistrates Court practitioners.

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