Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • MJay
    • By MJay 16th May 17, 6:22 PM
    • 137Posts
    • 237Thanks
    MJay
    Police powers after suicide
    • #1
    • 16th May 17, 6:22 PM
    Police powers after suicide 16th May 17 at 6:22 PM
    A close family member took their own life. The police confiscated several thing during the investigation but have concluded that no one else was involved. They want to wipe the mobile before returning it. Is this legal and if so, under what legislation.
Page 1
    • Jojo the Tightfisted
    • By Jojo the Tightfisted 16th May 17, 6:31 PM
    • 23,240 Posts
    • 90,212 Thanks
    Jojo the Tightfisted
    • #2
    • 16th May 17, 6:31 PM
    • #2
    • 16th May 17, 6:31 PM
    Sorry to hear that.

    Could they be trying to protect the family from the contents? Out of compassion?
    I could dream to wide extremes, I could do or die: I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by.

    Yup you are officially Rock n Roll
    Originally posted by colinw
    • avogadro
    • By avogadro 16th May 17, 6:49 PM
    • 3,649 Posts
    • 6,279 Thanks
    avogadro
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 6:49 PM
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 6:49 PM
    I'm sorry I can't answer specifically. The C.A.B. (or better still a solicitor) might be able to advise. I imagine it's to do with privacy laws, but have been unable to find any information on Google.
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 16th May 17, 9:00 PM
    • 7,799 Posts
    • 26,150 Thanks
    Primrose
    • #4
    • 16th May 17, 9:00 PM
    • #4
    • 16th May 17, 9:00 PM
    My condolences. You have obviously gone through a very stressful time.
    Did any member of the family hold a Power of the Attorney for the deceased family member? If so, I think they should make that known to the police although of course Attorneyship ends on a death.
    There may shave been evidence of some kind on the ohone which the police thought the family would find distressing, or there might have been some criminal contacts perhaps, i.e. Drug dealers contact numbers which the police would not want to fall into the hands of others.
    The individual may even have taken some photos of themselves whilst dying or trying to commit suicide which would be very distressing for family members to see, especially if the individual was in a mentally disturbed state at the time.
    Last edited by Primrose; 16-05-2017 at 9:03 PM.
    • karcher
    • By karcher 16th May 17, 9:06 PM
    • 1,401 Posts
    • 11,766 Thanks
    karcher
    • #5
    • 16th May 17, 9:06 PM
    • #5
    • 16th May 17, 9:06 PM
    A close family member took their own life. The police confiscated several thing during the investigation but have concluded that no one else was involved. They want to wipe the mobile before returning it. Is this legal and if so, under what legislation.
    Originally posted by MJay
    I'm sorry, I can't help with your question but wanted to add my condolences. In your shoes I'd want to know why that can be done and I hope someone else here can advise.
    • Rejast
    • By Rejast 16th May 17, 11:22 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    Rejast
    • #6
    • 16th May 17, 11:22 PM
    • #6
    • 16th May 17, 11:22 PM
    I didn't want to read and run without expressing my condolences.

    It might be worth speaking to them to ask. If it is a 'want' then they may need and be seeking permission, if not then they should be able to tell you under what powers they are acting.

    I'd be seeking clarification too, or at least asking them to only delete what it absolutely necessary like any upsetting pictures if the family member recorded their attempt in anyway but preserving any other pictures they took. Our phones nowadays hold so much of our lives and are our new diaries/ photo albums.

    I hope you find some comfort at such a heartbreaking time.
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 16th May 17, 11:36 PM
    • 3,316 Posts
    • 5,049 Thanks
    Malthusian
    • #7
    • 16th May 17, 11:36 PM
    • #7
    • 16th May 17, 11:36 PM
    A cursory read of the police code of practice suggests that the police are supposed to return evidence to its owners after they're done with it, as you might expect. It doesn't explicitly say that electronic media should be returned with its data still on it but I would think that's implicit.

    You said "they want to wipe the mobile before returning it". Does "they want to" rather than "they have" mean they've asked you for permission? If you give them permission to do so then of course it's legal, no chapter and verse required. As others have said there may be compassionate grounds for asking to do so, but you should be entitled to ask why.
    • MJay
    • By MJay 17th May 17, 9:23 AM
    • 137 Posts
    • 237 Thanks
    MJay
    • #8
    • 17th May 17, 9:23 AM
    • #8
    • 17th May 17, 9:23 AM
    Thanks to all of you for your replies and advice.I think PACE is where I need to look...... The circumstances are more tragic than I am able to reveal and my whole family are devastated. Thanks you for your condolences. It is comforting to know that humanity still exists today as I am left reeling over this latest affront. Thank you all.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 17th May 17, 10:51 AM
    • 6,039 Posts
    • 7,788 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    • #9
    • 17th May 17, 10:51 AM
    • #9
    • 17th May 17, 10:51 AM
    I'm very sorry for your loss.

    I think that they would have the power to remove any illegal material from the phone and to copy anything which was relevant as evidence, but I don't think that they would have authority to wipe it other than that, so I would suggest that you ask them whether they are are saying that the *must* (and if so, under what legislation).

    I think it is possible that they are thinking o the Data Protection rules which allows data to be withheld from disclosure where it might cause distress, but as the data in this case belongs to your relative (and now to their executors), not to the police, I do not think that that would entitled them to wipe the phone.

    At this stage, I'd suggest that you ask them why they want to wipe it and confirm that you do not wish them to do so. I think it may well be, as others have suggested, that they think there is material which is likely to be upsetting and they want to shield the family, but of course it is up to you as a family whether you want that.

    (And of course, if you have it back un-wiped, you and the family can then consider whether you want to arrange for someone else, such as your solicitor, to review what is on the phone on your behalf in case there are distressing pictures or messages , so you can decide who sees what.)
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 17th May 17, 11:02 AM
    • 7,158 Posts
    • 19,513 Thanks
    DigForVictory
    Could you ask for a Family Liaison officer, & be clear that while you appreciate they may wish to copy some data from the phone, you as a family would like to hang on to the contacts, numbers & photos so you know whom to invite to the wake?
    There are practicalities that extend outside the police station that a Family Liaison Officer may be in a better position to debate & explain.

    Meantime, I'm sorry for your loss - a suicide is more difficult to cope with as the ongoing question of could I have done Anything is difficult to get to settle.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 17th May 17, 12:14 PM
    • 15,118 Posts
    • 14,764 Thanks
    Guest101
    The data on the mobile is property of the estate of the deceased. The police can not wipe it without a court order.
    • onomatopoeia99
    • By onomatopoeia99 17th May 17, 12:17 PM
    • 3,538 Posts
    • 7,765 Thanks
    onomatopoeia99
    My understanding, which comes from a different situation to the one outlined, is that the police can't just destroy someone else's data, they need a court order to do so.

    If you want the data on the phone preserved, talk to the police and tell them so. If you get nothing that way, pay a solicitor, as even if the one you talk to doesn't know for certain (the law is vast and continually changing) they will be able to find out from a specialist that does.
    INTP, nerd, libertarian and scifi geek.
    Home is where my books are.
    • TonyMMM
    • By TonyMMM 17th May 17, 12:44 PM
    • 2,496 Posts
    • 2,668 Thanks
    TonyMMM
    This case will be subject of an inquest - the coroner , or their officer's, are the ones to speak to. The police must act under the direction of the coroner.
    • rpc
    • By rpc 17th May 17, 3:05 PM
    • 2,300 Posts
    • 3,493 Thanks
    rpc
    The police must act under the direction of the coroner.
    Originally posted by TonyMMM
    But even the coroner cannot simply direct the destruction of personal property.

    There are cases when the police are entitled to do this, but so far as I know they all require a court order (from the mags, not the coroner).
    • MJay
    • By MJay 17th May 17, 3:29 PM
    • 137 Posts
    • 237 Thanks
    MJay
    Update
    There is no crime involved just the death itself.

    The Family Liaison Officer has now been in touch....

    They will NOT wipe the phone! Thank god.

    It seems that there was a miscommunication by the officer involved - or the message taker. Whatever the problem, it was the last thing needed at the moment. Again, thank you all for your compassion and kindness.
    • TonyMMM
    • By TonyMMM 17th May 17, 10:02 PM
    • 2,496 Posts
    • 2,668 Thanks
    TonyMMM
    But even the coroner cannot simply direct the destruction of personal property.

    There are cases when the police are entitled to do this, but so far as I know they all require a court order (from the mags, not the coroner).
    Originally posted by rpc
    A coroner is a court ( and higher than most) and can issue all sorts of orders, including destruction/retention of property - but glad to hear this has been sorted out.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 18th May 17, 10:23 AM
    • 15,118 Posts
    • 14,764 Thanks
    Guest101
    A coroner is a court ( and higher than most) and can issue all sorts of orders, including destruction/retention of property - but glad to hear this has been sorted out.
    Originally posted by TonyMMM


    A coroner is a court of sorts, it's a judicial office in a local authority.


    However a coroner would not make orders for destruction of property, their duty is solely to:


    Coroners inquire into the causes and circumstance of a death under section 5 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009; inquiries are directed solely to ascertain:
    • who the deceased was;
    • how, when and where the deceased came by his or her death; and,
    • the particulars (if any) required by the Births Deaths and Registrations Act 1953 to be registered concerning the death.
    A Coroner will conduct an investigation (legal inquiry) when informed the body of a person (the 'deceased') is lying within their district (geographical 'jurisdiction'). However, following the commencement of the Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013 the Coroner will no longer be restricted to holding inquests within their own districts and will have the option to relocate if it is in the interests of the bereaved family.
    The Coroner is expected to open an inquest where there is reasonable suspicion that the deceased has died a violent or unnatural death, where the cause of death is unknown or if the deceased died while in custody or state detention as defined by section 1(2) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.


    In addition, the Coroner will also investigate where the deceased has not been seen by the doctor issuing the medical certificate, or during the 14 days before the death.
    • pipkin71
    • By pipkin71 23rd May 17, 9:12 PM
    • 18,928 Posts
    • 83,183 Thanks
    pipkin71
    So sorry for your loss.

    We also lost a close family member to suicide and it was a very difficult time, still is in some ways.

    I wish you well and hope you and your family have support in place to deal with this distressing situation x
    There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you - Beatrix Potter
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,691Posts Today

7,883Users online

Martin's Twitter