Lost property (2015)

Request

  1. Please disclose the number of items recorded as "lost property" in 2014;
  2. Please provide a list of all items recorded as "lost property" from January 1, 2015, to today's date. By recorded, I mean a log has been made of the item in a lost property register.
  3. Please provide a copy of the policy for dealing with lost property.

 

Response

  1. Please disclose the number of items recorded as "lost property" in 2014;
    This information is already publicly available on the parliamentary website.
    As the information you request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 your FOI request is refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOI Act. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
  2. Please provide a list of all items recorded as "lost property" from January 1 2015 to today's date. By recorded, I mean a log has been made of the item in a lost property register.
    List of items handed in to the Lost Property Office (CSV CSV 25 KB), situated in St Stephen’s Hall in the House of Commons.
    Lost property is stored securely for approximately 3 months, except for electronic items which are kept for 6 months.
    Where the location of items found has been recorded, this information has been withheld. Some detailed descriptions of items and the locations where they are stored have also been withheld. The House considers that releasing this information would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime and affect the apprehension and prosecution of offenders. The information is therefore exempt by virtue of s.31(1)(a) and (b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the exemption for law enforcement). This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public interest test applies.
    In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency and openness in providing details of lost property handed in to the House of Commons, and that this information would assist those who believe they have lost items on the Estate in identifying and making a claim to their items. However, this is outweighed by the possible risk of criminal activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. In providing details of the locations items were found, we would be making publicly available important identifying information which might assist individuals seeking to acquire property that does not belong to them. This and/or a detailed description of certain items would make the items more easily identifiable meaning they could provide a better description to enable them to unlawfully claim the item. This would make it harder for staff to realise they are claiming something which never belonged to them, making it harder for security services to identify and therefore apprehend offenders. In disclosing the information we would be failing in our duty to assist those providing us with law enforcement on the Estate.
    Where the names of identifiable individuals handing in or claiming lost property is recorded, this information has been withheld. This information is exempt by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the exemption for personal information), as disclosure of this information to the public generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
  3. Please provide a copy of the policy for dealing with lost property.
    Whilst there is no formal policy for dealing with lost property held by the House of Commons, the House does hold a ‘Best Practice’ procedural guide for the Hall Keeper’s Lodge which deals with a number of functions, including lost property.
    Part of the guide relevant to your request (PDF PDF 57 KB).