Force raises more than £6m through criminal’s ill-gotten gains
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In the last three years the force has continued to excel at securing confiscation orders worth more than £6 million allowing the seizure of assets from criminals.
The powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) allows forces to approach the courts and seize assets obtained by individuals through their criminality.
Confiscation orders are granted by the courts following the conviction of individuals where there is evidence to support the defendant has gained financially from their crimes.
Members of the force’s economic crime unit are responsible preparing the evidence to support the confiscation orders. At times this can be a complex and challenging task with criminals attempting to hide their cash and assets amongst family members.
The orders can also include the sale of assets to recoup the value, such as cars, jewellery, designer clothing and on some occasions through the sale of the individual’s shares in property.
Between April 2020 and March this year orders to the value of £6.38m have been granted by the courts.
Those orders have allowed us to seize many high value items, such as a Range Rover Sport HSE which was sold for more than £18,000 using the force’s eBay site and a gold Rolex Sky-Dweller Master watch which was sold for more than £26,000.
After a member of an organised crime group who supplied class A drugs across the country was sentenced the force applied for a confiscation order and seized two paintings by John Wilson and Ronnie Wood to the value of more than £1,700. Rolex and Hublot watches to the value of £20,000 were also seized.
eBay sales have generated an income of £1.25m since 2016 through the sale of a number of items. Between April 2022 and March this year 57 items were sold generating more than £240,000.
The proceeds from the recovery and sale of criminal assets, including eBay sales, since 2016 amounts to a total of £4.2 million, is transferred to the Home Office but a proportion is returned to the force to drive up asset recovery performance and assist with local projects.
Deputy Chief Constable David Sandall, said: “These figures are a testament to the immense work that goes into these investigations and subsequent POCA hearings. The legislation allows forces to stop criminals from benefitting further from the criminality.
“We are good at seizing criminals’ assets and we will continue to use these powers to ensure those who choose to commit crime do not benefit from it.”
The money recovered from criminals is reinvested and used to tackle crimes that cause the most harm, helping make our communities safer. We have used money acquired through seizing criminal assets to support a domestic abuse perpetrator rehabilitation programme and fund two new police cars.
(Caption - Chief Constable Rob Nixon and Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews with a police car funded from POCA proceeds)
Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, said: “This is great work by the force and sends a strong message to those who commit crime that their illegal gains can and will be taken away from them. I think law-abiding residents will appreciate the fact that this money is used to combat crime still further, so it really is a case of the offender helping the police make our communities safer.
“This work is absolutely in line with my ongoing strategy to prevent crime in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. “
Paul Wenlock from the force’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU), said: “Our work doesn’t end at an individual’s conviction. If there is evidence to suggest the defendant has gained financially from their criminality we can approach the courts for confiscation orders under the POCA.
“If criminals fail to pay the value of the order they can have additional years added to their existing sentences.
“As well as confiscation orders the POCA legislation allows us to apply for forfeiture orders and restraint orders.
“A restraint order granted under POCA means that we can secure an asset pending conviction and a confiscation hearing/order.
“Forfeiture orders are granted under civil legislation. If a criminal investigation fails to proceed or if there is no further action we can proceed with civil law to retain the cash and we are one of the best police forces in the country in seizing criminals’ assets. We will continue to use these powers to dismantle serious and organised criminality in the city and county.”