Thames Valley Police has seized seized more than £1 million cash obtained from crime, during the last year.
The Force’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU) was targeted to carry out 160 seizures of ‘criminal’ cash in the 2013/14 financial year.
To date, 157 orders have been obtained, totalling £1,009,356.78
Of the cash seized, 51 forfeiture orders amounting to £305,785.80 have already been granted.
Det Insp Gavin Tyrrell, head of the ECU, said: “When the police find someone with over £1,000 in cash and we suspect it has come from crime or is going to fund crime, the Proceeds of Crime Act allows us to seize it. This year alone we have seized over £1 million.
“Once the cash has been seized, financial investigators in the ECU carry out in-depth investigations into the finances of the individual who had the cash to prove its derivation, and if there is evidence to suggest on the balance of probabilities that it came from crime or was to be used in crime, a forfeiture order application will be made to a magistrates’ court. If the magistrates are satisfied the cash is a product of criminal activity, it will be forfeited.”
Police can also seize assets, such as houses and cars, from people convicted of criminal offences by applying for a confiscation order if they believe they paid for their possessions using crime. These orders, however, are not included in the £1 million figure.
Det Insp Tyrrell added: “The underlying principle of the Proceeds of Crime Act is to remove cash and other assets from criminals so they don’t profit from their crimes and they can’t reinvest in other criminal activities. Under this legislation, we can obtain forfeiture orders even if the person from whom the cash was seized hasn’t been convicted of any offence.
“The seizure of this huge amount of cash is a tremendous achievement for everyone involved throughout Thames Valley Police and is as a result of proactive and targeted operations against organised criminals as well as normal policing activities. This should send a clear warning to the criminals that harm our communities that we will use every tactic available to bring you to justice and remove the profit from crime.”
If you know or suspect someone is living from the proceeds of crime, contact Thames Valley Police on 101. If you don’t want to speak to the police, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.