The law on ... Confiscating property

6th March 2009 at 00:00

Basic issues

Confiscation of property is not unlawful if it is necessary. In a school, this would mean something that was dangerous, drug-related or obscene. It is unlawful to destroy property belonging to a pupil unless it must be destroyed to protect interests or safety.

Who is responsible?

Headteachers are responsible for ensuring that policies and procedures regarding confiscation are followed by staff. Heads also have the power to initiate methods for detection of drugs. This can be in the form of urine testing or sniffer dogs.

What to watch out for

Items that are confiscated must be kept safe to avoid allegations of theft, particularly if the item is expensive. Illicit material such as pornographic material or drugs can be handed over to the police. Reports to the police are not obligatory but often advisable.


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today