Crime proceeds of £1.3 million seized by South Yorkshire Police

Police in South Yorkshire recovered more cash and assets from criminal hands last year.

By Katie Williams
Monday, 14th September 2020, 6:30 pm

But anti-corruption organisation Global Witness warned the £200 million recovered nationally is "a drop in the ocean" compared with huge volumes of illegal money flowing through the UK.

Home Office data shows South Yorkshire Police collected proceeds of crime worth £1.3 million in the year to March.

Of this, £982,800 (73%) was obtained through confiscation orders, which are made during sentencing following a criminal conviction.

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Some jewellery seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) that was previously auctioned off in Sheffield

The rest came from powers to seize and confiscate cash via civil proceedings.

The haul was slightly higher than the value seized in 2018-19, when officers recovered £1.3 million.

Around £208 million was collected by police forces, councils and government agencies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland using powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act in 2019-20 – a 4% decrease from the year before, but up 8% compared to five years ago.

Dominic Kavakeb, of Global Witness, said: “These latest statistics really are a drop in the ocean compared with the billions in illicit wealth flooding the UK.

"It shows how much work there is still to do in the fight against dirty money, starting with the long-awaited property register that can bring transparency to the UK’s property market – for years a top choice for criminals and the corrupt looking to launder stolen cash.”

The Government unveiled new measures to clamp down on corruption in 2018, including the creation of Unexplained Wealth Orders – which give authorities the power to demand a person or company explain where their cash or assets came from.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has obtained UWOs on four cases with a value estimated at just over £143m.

In the year to March, £208m was also frozen in more than 800 bank and building society accounts – up significantly from £95m.

An NCA spokeswoman said: “The National Crime Agency froze or seized £160m in suspected criminal assets during the last year alone, and we continue to use all of our powers, in both the criminal and civil spheres, to disrupt criminals and corrupt elites by recovering the proceeds of their criminality.”

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings said: “There are few things more infuriating for hard-working members of the public than seeing their communities blighted by criminality and those involved thriving off their criminal activities, even if they get caught and spend time in prison.

“That is why I strongly support the great job South Yorkshire Police are doing in going after the assets of criminals. No-one should benefit from the proceeds of crime.

“The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) enables the police to proactively ask the court to allow them to seize cash and assets where criminals are living life styles based on money they cannot account for.

“Money confiscated using the Proceeds of Crime Act has now been added to my Community Grant Fund, meaning that I have been able to double the amount of money that community groups and organisations can apply for to continue their vital work - Grants of up to £10,000 are now available.

“In the past funding has been given to local domestic abuse charities, community sports and recreational organisations for the young and old and money has been put back into community projects to enhance the area and to reduce criminality.

“Money is being taken out of the hands of those who blight our communities and put back into those same communities their activity would otherwise blight.

“The criminals need to think again. Their day of reckoning is coming."

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