assets they recover under a new incentive scheme announced today by
Home Office minister Caroline Flint.
more criminally acquired wealth, the scheme rewards forces by giving
them a stake in the assets clawed back from criminals. Police will
receive a third of all recovered assets above£40m next year,
increasing to 50% in 2005/06.
Ms Flint also announced a halving of the cash seizure threshold from
£10,000 to£5,000, allowing police and customs officers to seize
suspect cash stashes of not less than£5,000.
Ms Flint said:
'One year on, the tough powers in the Proceeds of Crime Act are
hitting criminals where it hurts - in their pockets. Law enforcement
agencies are using the new tools to strip criminals of their assets
with great success. Now is the time to spur police on to achieve
even greater success by giving them a stake in the assets taken back
'Hard cash remains the currency of choice for criminals even though
the cash seizure powers are making a real impact - police and
customs officers are seizing around£1m a week in suspect
cash. Criminals are now responding by carrying cash in sums of less
than£10,000. We need to be just as flexible and responsive if we
are to stay ahead of the criminals. That is why the cash seizure
threshold is being lowered from£10,000 to£5,000.
'We have also committed up to£12m of recovered assets a year
for the next three years to set up four new multi-agency regional
asset recovery teams. These police-led teams, dedicated to taking
the profit out of crime will boost the drive to deprive criminals of
their illegally acquired wealth.'
The bulk of the powers contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act came
into force a year ago today. Already the tough new powers t o take
the profit out of crime are beginning to bite:
*£55m in suspect cash has been seized by police and customs
officers since December 2002
*£37.6m has been confiscated over the last year - under both
old legislation and the newer Proceeds of Crime Act powers
* the Assets Recovery Agency has twenty civil recovery cases subject
to interim and freezing orders to the value of£12.7m
* an additional£6.2m is the subject of restraint orders in
the criminal courts
Ms Flint added:
'The government is determined to make sure that crime does not pay.
We are denying criminals the financial benefit of their illegal and
harmful activity. Why should they enjoy 'champagne' lifestyles paid
for with money made at the expense of victims of crime?
'After just one year criminals are feeling the pain of having their
assets frozen, seized and confiscated on a greater scale than ever
before:£55m suspect cash seized;£37.6m criminals'
cash confiscated; and£18.9m the subject of freezing and
interim orders in the courts.
'Most criminals are motivated by money. They traffic in drugs,
illegal immigrants and contraband goods in order to make money.
Taking the profit out of crime takes away the motive as well as
removing the dirty capital that would have been re-invested in
'The government, in partnership with law enforcement agencies, and
once up and running the new Serious Organised Crime Agency, is
sending out the strongest signal that crime doesn't pay.'
1. The incentive scheme for the police service will realise a third
of all recovered assets over£40m for 2004/05 rising to half
of all recovered assets above£40m in 2005/06. The scheme
will then be evaluated. The scheme applies to all police forces in
England and Wales, the National Crime Squad, the British Transport
Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
2. The police incentive scheme is in addition to the£22.5m a
year for the three years to 2005/06 from recovered assets already
committed to communities and front-line agencies. This money
includes the funding for the Regional Asset Recovery Teams.
3. The new Regional Asset Recovery Teams will be located in the North
West, the North East, London and Wales.
4. The cash search and seizure powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act
came into force on 30 December 2002.
5. The Assets Recovery Agency and the money laundering laws came into
force on 24 February 2003.
6. The criminal confiscation powers and the criminal lifestyle test
came into force on 24 March 2003.