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Met seizes over £73 million from criminals

News   •   Feb 24, 2017 07:00 GMT

[Image: £500,000 seized by police]

Criminals are being shown that crime does not pay as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) reveals it has seized more than £73 million from convicted perpetrators during 2015/16.

This is the largest total seized in London in a single year since the Proceeds of Crime Act came into force in 2002.

Each year millions of pounds of assets are recovered from convicted criminals following financial investigations by the MPS' Criminal Finance Teams, using proceeds of crime legislation.

Criminal Finance Teams and joint enforcement teams are ensuring that criminals do not profit from their criminality by using the full range of the legislation to restrain assets and confiscate the value of their criminal activity. Assets range from properties to vehicles, jewellery and artwork.

In the financial year 2015/16, the MPS issued orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 totalling £73.4million.

The largest single value cash seizure in 2015/16 was £943,000. The cash was found when officers stopped a black cab in east London and found a large holdall in the passenger compartment which contained the cash. The cash was subsequently forfeited under the Proceeds of Crime Act in early 2016.

The largest confiscation order made in May 2015 was to the value of £6,328,119.39. The criminality related to the supply of chip and pin machines to central London brothels.

The main perpetrator created a number of sham companies purporting to offer events and function facilities to corporate clients.

These companies were then used to obtain numerous chip and pin machines from various Merchant Services Providers by fraudulently misrepresenting their business intentions.

The machines were then placed into several brothels in order to facilitate the payment for vice services and Class A drugs from paying customers.

Funds forfeited and confiscated by the MPS are paid to the Home Office, although the MPS receives a percentage back from the Home Office through the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS.)

In 2015/16, the MPS received £8.89million through ARIS.

The MPS uses monies received from the ARIS income to:

- Fund and support financial investigation posts within the MPS Business Groups;
- Fund and support financial investigation training across the MPS;
- Operate and fund a number of different internal schemes to drive performance including the POCA Funding Scheme, used to support and encourage Borough proactive policing in relation to acquisitive crime, to generate further POCA opportunities, assist boroughs and Specialist Units in targeting organised criminal groups, gangs and violence.

During Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe's term as Commissioner since September 2011, the MPS has seized or confiscated £317.14million through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and has received £40.16million through ARIS.

Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "The MPS is here to reduce crime and keep people safe. It's satisfying to see criminals pay back for the damage they cause communities through the assets we've recovered.

"The message is loud and clear, crime does not pay and criminals who think it does will have to deal with the full force of the MPS."

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 is an Act of Parliament which gives police the powers to identify and remove assets obtained from a criminal lifestyle.

Using the act, police can investigate the financial affairs of a suspect to see if any of their assets were obtained through criminal means. A court can then impose an asset confiscation order against the suspect, ordering him to pay up a sum of money.

Police also have the powers to seize cash and goods on suspicion that it is the proceeds of crime. Suspects must then show they were earned legitimately, otherwise they lose them.

Amount seized or confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act:

2011/12 - £57.9million
2012/13 - £62.4million
2013/14 - £57.8million
2014/15 - £66million
2015/16 - £73.04million
Total - £317.14million

ARIS Income
2011/12 - £10.35million
2012/13 - £6.51million
2013/14 - £7.38million
2014/15 - £7.03million
2015/16 - £8.89million
Total - £40.16million