Headlines: October 3rd, 2003

The Home Secretary has announced that twenty two and a half million pounds a year of criminals’ cash is to be recycled back into communities and front-line agencies. David Blunkett said the move showed that new powers to confiscate, freeze, seize and tax criminals’ assets were beginning to bite.The first phase of the Government’s action to strip criminals of their wealth saw the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act, which created the Assets Recovery Agency and gave law enforcement agencies power to take the profit out of crime. Mr. Blunkett said the next phase would be about taking money away from career criminals’ pockets, recycling it for the benefit of all, and reinvesting the money to build the capacity of law enforcement agencies to seize even more.

Over the next three years fifteen and a half million pounds will go to projects which boost front-line agencies’ ability to recover illegally acquired wealth and seven million will be spent in communities blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour. Up to twelve million a year for three years will be spent oncreating four new multi-agency regional asset recovery teams based in the North West, the North East, London and Wales. Of the money earmarked for communities, four million will go to the Adventure Capital Fund, which invests in grass roots crime reduction, education and training initiatives. More than 300,000 pounds will be used to set up a national database of all ongoing restraint and confiscation orders.