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Mersey police efforts to seize criminals' assets applauded; Force second only to Met in recoveries.

Byline: BY LIZA WILLIAMS Daily Post Staff

MERSEYSIDE Police is the highest performing force for asset recovery outside London, according to latest Home Office information.

And since 2002 new figures show the region has also seen the largest increase in offences brought to justice compared to other similar metropolitan areas.

The latest figures show that, in the last year, 45,822 offences resulted in offenders being convicted by the courts, formally cautioned or receiving a penalty notice for disorder - 1,627 more than the target set by central Government.

It follows the news that the force's asset recovery achievement was acknowledged through the Government's incentive payouts scheme, which directly reflects the scale of work by police forces.

Detective Superintendent Colin Leeman, of Merseyside Police's Force Crime Operations Unit, said there is "nothing that undermines public confidence more than seeing people visibly profiting from crime".

He said: "Our ability to recover assets which have been obtained through crime is a vital tool which also has the potential to remove the incentive to commit crime in the first place."

In continuing to seize criminal assets, and the latest award of pounds 432,302 to Merseyside Police, the force is continuing to strip the area's criminals of their ill-gotten gains.

Out of the 43 police forces and British Transport Police, only London's Metropolitan Police were given more of the pounds 18m cash boost from assets seized between January 1 and March 31, 2008.

The Merseyside force, working with the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts, has seized in excess of pounds 2.25m, since April, 2007, with a further pounds 1m of cash seizures waiting to go before the courts, making it the best performing force in the country for cash forfeiture against Home Office targets.

Confiscations made following criminal convictions for the same period equate to a further pounds 2.5m.

Merseyside Criminal Justice Board, set up in 2003, is responsible for the running of the Criminal Justice System in Merseyside.

Assistant Chief Constable Helen King, a member of Merseyside Criminal Justice Board, said: "In the last two years, the area has seen the largest fall in crime in the country.

"That we have also seen the largest increase in offences brought to justice compared to similar areas is a huge achievement.

"It is a tribute to the determination of victims and witnesses to bring offenders to justice and to the hard work and professionalism of all those who work in the criminal justice system, including the Police Crown Prosecution Service, Her Majesty's Court Services, Youth Offending Services and Probation."

lizawilliams@dailypost.co.uk

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2008
Words:437
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