Cash totalling more than £12million has been seized by Kent Police officers over the past four years using powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

During this period Kent Police has consistently ranked in the top ten forces in England and Wales, in clawing back ill-gotten gains from the likes of drug dealers, fraudsters and thieves.

Criminal gains are often recovered as a result of proactive policing, with searches of suspicious addresses and vehicles linked to offences including county lines drug supply and money laundering.

In total, nearly £12.5million was seized between January 2017 and January 2021.

Following police enforcement, the courts then either make a forfeiture order, immediately depriving the offender of assets and property (including any cash seized), or pass a confiscation order, where criminals are instructed to pay back the amount they have benefited from crime. Across the same four-year period Kent Police has secured forfeiture orders of more than £3.2million, as well as confiscation orders totalling around £7.5million.

Examples of successful POCA court orders include:

  • In February 2020, returning just under £30,000 to elderly victims following a confiscation hearing against a fraudster who posed as a police officer to steal money from victims across Kent. The offender was jailed for five years in June 2018.
  • In December 2019, obtaining a forfeiture order against three men after more than £30,000 was found hidden in children’s toys. The money was seized in February of that year inside a vehicle at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Folkestone. Although no one was convicted as part of a criminal case, the men could not prove the money was for use in lawful conduct and a judge therefore granted the order.

Detective Inspector Annie Clayton of the Economic Crime Unit said: ‘The Proceeds of Crime Act is a vital piece of legislation that enables us to prevent criminals from continuing to reap the benefits of their illegal activities even after they have been sent to prison. We are immensely proud to be one of the top performing police forces in the country in seizing and confiscating illegally earned money and assets and our financial investigators are working tirelessly to ensure more and more offenders are under no illusion that crime ultimately does not pay.

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‘Behind every crime is a victim, many of whom have been targeted due to their vulnerability and we remain committed to targeting those who seek to profit at the expense of other people’s misery. Only this month our officers executed a search warrant at an address in London linked to organised crime in Kent, where cash believed to be in the region of at least half a million pounds was seized.’

Assets recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act are distributed to operational agencies including Kent Police under the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS). Broadly, ARIS divides recovered assets between operational agencies and the Home Office which is then reinvested into policing.

By Ed

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