UK Protected Persons Service

The UK Protected Persons Service (UKPPS) provides authorised protection to members of the public judged to be at risk of serious harm.

We don't just protect witnesses, but a wide range of people considered to be at risk of serious harm. For example you may be the subject of honour based violence or in some way helping with the investigation of serious crime.

Whilst we are part of UK policing we work independently of police forces in providing protection arrangements, and concentrate solely on keeping people safe and helping to bring offenders to justice.

The UKPPS brings together what were formally called Witness Protection Units into new teams of Police and National Crime Agency officers and staff.

In England and Wales these units are arranged regionally; in Scotland the Protected Persons Unit of Police Scotland and in Northern Ireland the Protected Persons Unit of the Police Service of Northern Ireland are aligned to the UKPPS, to create one UK wide service.

How we work

We remove people from the area of threat to a new, safe location. Protected Persons Units will then work with the Protected Person to keep this location discreet and rebuild lives in the new area. To do this we require the cooperation and collaboration of the person at risk. 

If you work with us, we will keep you safe. It is the discretion around the new location that helps us to keep people safe and for this reason Protected Persons Units work discreetly and with a large degree of secrecy.

Many of our cases do involve witnesses and in all cases we are governed by rules as to what we can and what we cannot do. This kind of detail is discussed with the person concerned when a case is referred to us, and we do all we can to take into account the persons wishes in terms of relocation areas, work, schooling etc.

We are committed to treating people fairly, honestly and professionally. Our staff are specialists and the safety of those in our care is our main responsibility. We operate discreetly and only with the full co-operation of those for whom we have responsibility.

The UK Police Service has dealt with thousands of cases in the last 20 years or so. Protected Persons quietly get on with their new lives in the knowledge that they are supported by the authorities, and safe in their new locations.

We understand that you might feel torn and concerned, but rest assured that if you do come forward you can be protected and supported, wherever you are in the United Kingdom.

Management and administration

The Central Bureau is the national headquarters of the UK Protected Persons Service. This is managed by the National Crime Agency and provides strategic and practical assistance and coordination to officers supporting protected persons.

For more information about the Regional fight against Organised Crime click on the links below:-

East Midlands
Eastern Region
North North East
North West Region
Northern Ireland
South East
South North East
South West
West Midlands

Contact us

Referrals can only be made to the UKPPS by police forces, the National Crime Agency and other law enforcement bodies.

Members of the public cannot refer themselves to the UKPPS. If you have concerns about your safety you should contact your local police force in the first instance.

In an emergency call 999


The overarching legislation related to the work of the service is;

- European Convention on Human Rights - Article 2: Right to Life, Article 6: Right to a Fair Trial and Article 8 Right to a Private and Family life

Detailed legislation around protection arrangements can be found here;

- Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 – Chapter 4: Protection of Witnesses and Other Persons

Amendments to the above legislation in relation to the acceptance criteria can be found here;

- Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 – Section 178

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