Kent Police rejects lost property 'because of budget cuts'

Lost and found generic Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Members of the public will have to turn to social media to reunite items with rightful owners

Kent Police is to stop dealing with lost property, blaming cuts to police funding and staff numbers, and has told people to use social media instead.

From June, the force will only accept items believed to be associated with crime, such as guns and knives.

The public have been told to use social media to reunite items with owners as it will not be a police matter anymore.

Police commissioner Ann Barnes said the force could no longer do all the things it had traditionally done.

She stressed it was an operational decision made by the chief constable and there was no legal obligation for the force to deal with lost property.

"It takes an awful lot of time and effort for the force to take it in, log it, store it, look after it," she said.

Image caption Ann Barnes said it took a lot of time and effort for the force to deal with lost property issues

Ian Pointon, from the Kent Police Federation, said it could be the first of many other services to be axed.

"We cannot continue to do everything we have done with the number of resources that we're going to have.

"This is just a very small tip of a much bigger iceberg of things that the police are going to have to stop doing," he told BBC Radio Kent.

But Rupert Turpin, a Medway councillor and member of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel, said the panel was not informed about the change in policy and it had provoked a lot of concern.

"I would have hoped very much that it would come under some sort of scrutiny and consultation before such a step was taken," he said.

But Ms Barnes said the panel's role was not to comment on operational decisions of the chief constable but to "review decisions that I make".

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