No CoVID reprieve for crooks as we seize crime proceeds

Criminals have received no Covid reprieve after we recovered over £1.7 million of ill-gotten gains during 2020.

Our economic crime unit have continued to ensure crooks don’t profit from ’dirty money’ during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lockdown and restrictions have meant fewer court cases being finalised but it hasn’t deterred our investigators from pursuing convicted criminals who’ve benefitted financially from their illegal activities.

We’ve secured around 120 orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) this year which has led to money being clawed back.

This included a 36-year-old Wolverhampton drug dealer who was ordered to pay back almost £75,000 and we delved further into his criminal lifestyle following his six-year jail term.

Crooks who don’t pay up face extended prison sentences, although the debt never goes away and officers are able to recover what is owed in the future.

The recovered money can be used to compensate victims of crime, or invested into helping communities and making them safer.

Jenny Birch, head of our economic crime unit, said: "The lockdown and restrictions have impacted on everyone and everything this year. But there’s been no let up in our pursuit of convicted criminals who we’ve benefitted financially from their crimes.

"We’ve still been able to claw back a substantial amount of money from the likes of drug dealers and fraudsters.

"Our investigations around proving cash or property are linked to crime can be extremely detailed and complex. But we have a diligent team and it’s always worthwhile to take illegal gains from criminals and put it to good use within communities."

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Waheed Saleem has urged people to apply for funding from the PCC’s Community Initiatives Fund, that was launched to support community groups who are helping the vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Proceeds of Crime Act funds the projects.

The Deputy PCC said: "The Proceeds of Crime Act ensures that the money the police seize from criminals is put to good use keeping our communities safer.

"Dirty money seized by the police is put to good use through our Community Initiatives Fund.

“This year we’ve provided funding for a large number of organisations undertaking all sorts of work, from sports activity to groups combating loneliness.

“Our Community Initiatives Fund is still open for local groups to bid for. Please find more information at"

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