28 Jul 2011

Over 1bn pounds seized from criminals in last year

The government promises a co-ordinated approach to cutting organised crime – as it announces that over £1bn worth of criminal assets have been recovered, frozen or returned in the last year.

New approach to tackling organised crime - as it is revealed £1bn of assets was seized from criminals in the last year (Reuters images)

The Home Office has announced plans for what it called an organised crime strategy which will take in law enforcement, security and the intelligence agencies.

The plan paves the way for the creation of a new National Crime Agency which will replace existing bodies the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) as well as taking responsibility for the national cyber-crime unit, border policing and economic crime.

Ministers said the new strategy is also aimed at reducing costs of tackling the problems – policing of which is estimated to cost the UK between £20bn and £40bn a year.

Soca was criticised by MPs in 2009 after it was revealed that it only recovered £1 from criminals for every £15 of public money spent. The Home Office has revealed that in the last year, over £1bn of cash and goods was seized. Of that, a total of £49m was given back to victims of crime.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said that it was important that people were not able to benefit from being involved in criminal activity.

“Part of the challenge is to ensure that we follow the cash, follow the proceeds, of those who are involved – whether it be buying property or buying fancy cars – and deny those criminals those assets,” he added.