At a training session in Guernsey this week, someone asked me, “What happens to the money the authorities seize from criminals?” It was an excellent question, and a topic I shall include in future training – pretending that it was my own idea, of course. I explained that if possible the assets are returned to the victim, and then whatever is left over is divided in varying proportions between the government, the confiscating agency, and crime prevention projects. This made my curious, and I thought I would look a little more into quite what the money is spent on. My main source of information is the marvellous SOCA-led publication “Payback Times” – you can find the link to the latest issue on this page. From recent seizures:
- The Wakefield Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA) Team have been given a Mercedes estate car that was seized by West Yorkshire Police – the PoCA lads have emblazoned it with banners saying “Why Should They Get Way With It?” and the Crimestoppers number, and drive it around the area to get attention.
- Local police in Fleetwood in Lancashire have been given two new police bicycles bought with PoCA seizure money – they can now complete their beats more quickly and therefore more frequently, and are also much more effective at tackling cycle-based crime.
- Dudley Police have donated £500 of PoCA-seized cash to local Castle Youth football team for a new strip and training equipment.
- PoCA money has bought two dogs for Hertfordshire Constabulary: Zak the border collie and Abi the labrador. They join two other “PoCA dogs”, Jack and Daz, who are already working with Hertfordshire police on searches for drugs, firearms and cash.
Doesn’t it warm the cockles of your heart to know that criminal money can actually do some good? I wonder if I could put in a request for a donation of “PoCA choc”….