We have received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following:
Current policies and operation of the police in depriving assets from criminals.
We released the following information on 7 July 2011.
The government is keen to see that asset recovery and financial investigation remains a key part of its work. Ministers recognise that asset denial is an important tool to fight crime and want criminals and communities to know that crime really does not pay. The government is committed to removing targets that were previously in place, including asset recovery targets. However, to achieve greater visibility, recognition and accountability in this work, ministers would like publication of the following indicators:
• Level of assets recovered
• Value of assets denied to criminals
• Level of criminal assets returned to victims
• Examples of how asset recovery and financial investigation powers have reduced harm to communities
All criminal assets seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) are paid into the Consolidated Fund and a sum equivalent to 50% of the value of assets recovered is allocated for use under the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS) and is distributed to frontline agencies. In broad terms the sums allocated under ARIS are divided between investigators, prosecutors and enforcing authorities. There are no conditions placed on how the ARIS allocations must be spent, though ministers have indicated that they would wish to see some money spent on asset recovery work, crime reduction projects and community projects. The other 50% is retained by the Home Office for its core expenditure.
In the last three years, the Metropolitan police Service has received the following amounts under ARIS; £7.15m (08/09), £10.47m (09/10) and £8.0m (10/11).
The government wants to alter the perception that asset recovery and financial investigation are ‘specialist functions’ and the creation of the National Crime Agency, notwithstanding, wants to see these functions mainstreamed so they become a core part of the business of law enforcement for all frontline agencies.
There are no plans at the present time to consider giving powers to the police service to recover property using civil recovery powers under part 5 of POCA.