Proceeds Of Crime Act
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 allows the confiscation of assets from persons who benefit from the proceeds of their criminal conduct. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 also allows the law enforcement agencies, such as the Police, Serious Organised Crime Agency, and the Crown Prosecution Service, to investigate and act to:
- Recover cash, property and other assets, which have been obtained through unlawful conduct or which is intended to be used in unlawful conduct, and to;
- Tackle money-laundering operations
It is up to the individuals themselves to prove on the balance of probabilities that they acquired their cash and assets legitimately. If they are unable to do so, their cash and assets may be seized and the money obtained will be used towards further asset recovery work or other community projects.
Between 2003 and 2008 the total confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act went from £38 million to £150 million. Between July and September 2008, criminal assets confiscated totalled £33.5 million and half of this will be shared between police, prosecutors and courts. As an example £5.4 million will be given to police forces in England and Wales.
This year alone, between January and April 2009, a total of £23.6 million was recovered and this will be paid back to frontline services, with £7 million to be shared between all police forces in England and Wales. Under an incentive scheme introduced in 2006, police and recovery agencies can keep half of the cash they seize from criminals. Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said the scheme "makes crime far less profitable".
On 26 June 2009, the Home Office revealed that last year, almost £150 million was seized from individuals subject to proceeds of crime actions.
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