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Police seize PS17m from criminals in just 5 years.

Byline: STEPHANIE BALLOO stephanie.balloo@trinitymirror.com

WEST Midlands Police has seized more than PS17 MILLION from criminals, latest figures reveal.

A huge total of PS17,026,411 has been stripped from drug dealers and fraudsters across the region over the last five years in a bid to show offenders that 'crime doesn't pay.' From April 2012, financial investigators working in the Economic Crime Unit have been recovering cash obtained from criminal activities under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Just over PS9 million was recovered from drug dealers and fraudsters following court convictions, and the best part of PS8 million was seized from suspects who failed to prove how they had acquired the cash.

West Midlands Police kept around PS6.5 million of the total, with the Home Office, CPS and courts also receiving a share of the cash.

The millions retained by West Midlands Police is ploughed into the Police & Crime Commissioner's Active Citizens fund and spent on crime prevention or community projects.

Detective Sergeant Adam Keen, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: "POCA is a really important police power: not just because it allows us to put much-needed money into police projects but also because it sends out a strong message that crime doesn't pay.

"Criminals may think they can ride out their time in jail and their illgotten gains will still be waiting for them upon their release. Wrong!

Because securing a conviction is just the start for us. We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure they cannot benefit from crime. We will always investigate people who have made money from crime; it's hugely satisfying to seize their money or assets - including property, cars or valuables - and spend that money for the common good in communities."

The five-year total is from 605 POCA Confiscation Orders - imposed by judges following criminal convictions - and 191 Forfeiture Orders after West Midlands Police applied to the courts to seize cash found in suspicious circumstances.

Any offenders refusing to pay up face extended spells behind bars - but the debt is never cancelled. It hangs over the person until it is repaid. Officers can recover cash and assets from them at any stage in the future.

West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "Using criminals' ill-gotten-gains, we will be spending their loot to make communities safer."

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Publication:Solihull News (Solihull, Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 12, 2018
Words:388
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