My rt hon Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before Parliament the 2016-17 annual report of the appointed person under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The appointed person is an independent person who scrutinises the use of the search and seizure powers that support the measures in the Act to seize and forfeit cash used for criminal purposes and to seize and sell property in settlement of confiscation orders.
The report gives the appointed person’s opinion as to the circumstances and manner in which the search and seizure powers conferred by the Act are being exercised. I am pleased that the appointed person, Mr. Douglas Bain, has expressed satisfaction with the operation of the powers and has found that there is nothing to suggest that the procedures are not being followed in accordance with the Act. Mr. Bain has made two recommendations this year. The Government will give due consideration to Mr Bain’s recommendations.
From 1 April 2016 to the end of March 2017 over £134 million in cash was seized by law enforcement agencies in England and Wales under powers in the Act. The seizures are subject to further investigation, and the cash is subject to further judicially approved detention, before forfeiture in the magistrates’ court. These powers are a valuable tool in the fight against crime and the report shows that the way they are used has been, and will continue to be, monitored closely.
Copies of the report will be available in the Vote Office.