Photo of Stephen Crabb

Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department

(1) what his policy is on police refusing to obtain a court production order on the grounds (a) of cost and (b) that the victim has suffered small financial loss;

(2) whether there are Government guidelines on thresholds for the level of financial loss that a victim of crime needs to suffer before the police may pursue a court production order as part of their investigations.

Photo of Hazel Blears

Hazel Blears (Minister without Portfolio, Cabinet Office; Salford, Labour)

It is an operational matter for the police to decide in each case whether to apply to a court for a production order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or earlier legislation.

The Home Office published a code of practice in 2003 which includes guidance to the police and other agencies on obtaining production orders. Under the legislation and the code, the police need to ensure that an application for an order is fully and clearly justified. There also must be reasonable grounds for believing that the material or information requested is likely to be of substantial value to a confiscation investigation or money laundering investigation. The level of financial loss to a victim is likely to be one of a number of factors that the police take into account when considering whether to apply for an order.

The courts have powers to make compensation orders against convicted persons in respect of financial loss to victims.

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