More criminals than ever before have been stripped of their profits thanks to a record year for confiscation orders.
The orders are issued under the Proceeds of Crime Act which allows for cash to be seized from offenders if it is suspected to be from crime.
Sussex Police said this week it continued to put pressure on offenders by stripping them of their criminal profits to the tune of more than £1.4 million in the past year between 2013 and 2014.
The news comes as the force has also achieved its best ever result in terms of confiscation orders issued under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Five convicted defendants in a major national horse-race betting brochure fraud have been served with confiscation orders for a total of £7.6 million.
Using powers under POCA, the force had successfully applied to courts during the financial year 2013/14 for 109 confiscation orders following criminal convictions, valued at £1,492,750. The force also obtained 28 civil forfeiture orders valued at £138,482, following cash seizures from suspected offenders and a further £7,277 in other forfeitures.
Detective Inspector Mick Richards of the force’s Economic Crime Unit said, “These are just the latest results of continuing hard work by our officers, and in particular our expert financial investigators.
““We now target not just the criminals but also the profits of their crimes, whether they are from drug dealing or any other form of criminal activity. It can take time and each investigation is subject of an application for a court-authorised confiscation order.
“Criminals need to know that where we think they have profits, hidden though they may be, we don’t give up after sentencing. Financial investigation is increasingly at the heart of all criminal investigation.
“POCA also allows for cash to be seized under civil forfeiture, if it is suspected to be from crime or it is suspected that it will be used for an unlawful purpose.
“It does not require anyone to be prosecuted for a criminal offence, rather that magistrates deem it to have been obtained through criminal enterprise, or intended in the future for such use based on the evidence surrounding its discovery. Any money confiscated and put into the national exchequer is ploughed back to support further financial investigations and into the wider community through local projects.”