South Yorkshire police boss fires warning as £150,000 of criminal assets are seized
Criminals have been warned that ‘crime does not pay’ as crooks across South Yorkshire are being stripped of their assets.
Assets worth £150,000 belonging to convicted and suspected criminals have been seized by the police in a crackdown on organised crime in South Yorkshire.
Cash, cars and other valuables are being seized by police officers in the latest effort to disrupt the illegal activities of crime gangs in particular.
South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said: “The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 - and other subsequent legislation - allows the police to recover assets from criminals so that they cannot benefit from their crimes.
“What can be recovered is not just what police seize at the time a particular crime is successfully prosecuted, they can also look at someone's lifestyle and see if the way they live cannot be lawfully accounted for.
“Just over a year ago I asked South Yorkshire Police to be more proactive around this and do more.”
Explaining what happens to the seized assets, he said: “We said we would use the money in two ways. First, I would recycle assets back into the communities by way of a grants scheme. This current financial year I have set aside £150,000 for that.
"Then some of the money will go to the force - in part to pay for the officers who administer the scheme, so the police budget does not suffer - and some for district commanders so they always have a small budget for items that crop up during a year.
“The police staff who work to recover the assets are finding more and more ways of hitting criminals hard in the pocket. They will even look back to see whether actions can be taken against those whose crimes were committed some time ago.
“I am delighted with progress so far and while I regret that crime happens in the first place, I am glad we are doing something to make criminals think twice and to help struggling communities get something back.
“I think this is all a really imaginative and creative use of POCA legislation and I commend the staff who are making it happen.
“The more we can do, the more we can send out the message that crime does not pay.”