Proceeds of Crime Act

More than £1.6m has been stripped from Derbyshire criminals in the last 12 months under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The act gives the police the power to take offenders to court and strip them of cash and other assets. By doing this, police can recover the wealth people have made by committing crime.

For example, people who may have made money by drug dealing or selling stolen property can have this cash or property taken from them.

The act allows police to confiscate money from people at the crown court if they have been convicted of a criminal offence. Cash suspected of coming from crime, or for use in crime, can also be forfeited during a civil hearing at a magistrates’ court.

The latest figures released by Derbyshire police show that between April 1st 2010 and the end of March 2011 assets totalling £1,273,076 were confiscated at crown court under the act. During the same period, £354,363 was forfe! ited by magistrates.

Between April 2009 and March 2010, £527,140 was confiscated from criminals and £206,656 was forfeited.

Money confiscated by the crown court is shared between a central Home Office fund, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Court Services and the investigating agency, such as the police or Trading Standards. Cash forfeited by magistrates is split between the Government and the investigating agency.

Decisions are still being made on where Derbyshire police will spend this years’ money but in previous years, £15,000 was spent on a two-year office lease so that Ripley Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team could have a base in the town centre, closer to the residents they serve.

In the Derbyshire Dales, £1,000 was spent on a special operation to tackle criminals who travelled from neighbouring counties to commit crimes in the area and in Glossop, £1,000 was given to a community football project. SPODA, a Chesterfield-b! ased group which supports families affected by drugs, was awarded £1,0 00 in 2010.

Detective Superintendent Terry Branson, force lead on POCA, said: “Our message to offenders is clear – crime does not pay. We will pursue you through both the criminal and civil courts and any assets you may have will be stripped from you.

“We are working hard to make sure that anyone who profits through their offending will not only face conviction and possibly jail, but will also be prevented from enjoying the fruits of their ill-gotten gains.”