We have taken a number of steps to improve the enforcement of confiscation orders. For example, we issued a ‘Best Practice Guide to Confiscation Order Enforcement’ to all relevant agencies and set up a new database to monitor and provide management information on confiscation performance. We set up a multi-agency enforcement task force for two years ending 2005-06; their work was subsequently subsumed by HM Courts Service and other enforcement agencies. HM Courts Service have established nine dedicated regional confiscation units, two of which have been co-located with the Home Office-funded regional asset recovery teams. The enforcement of Crown Prosecution Service confiscation orders for which CPS branches have lead enforcement responsibility is co-ordinated on a group basis, so as to benefit from economies of scale and to encourage the development and optimum use of specialist enforcement skills. In addition, the prosecution agencies and other bodies are making greater use of restraint orders.
We are giving the police and other bodies new powers in the Policing and Crime Bill to enable them to seize and detain assets at the earliest opportunity, subject to judicial oversight, to prevent criminals trying to hide them or otherwise dispose of them in anticipation of a confiscation order. We are also giving the authorities powers in the Bill to sell seized property to satisfy a confiscation order. These new measures will help to further improve confiscation enforcement rates.
The total net value of confiscation orders paid under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or earlier legislation in each year since 2003-04 is as follows:
£ million 2003-04 38.8 2004-05 54.4 2005-06 61.3 2006-07 77.8 2007-08 96.3
In addition to confiscation orders, the Proceeds of Crime Act makes provision for the seizure and forfeiture of cash that is the proceeds of crime or is intended for use in crime. The Act also provides for the civil recovery of the proceeds of crime. Law enforcement and prosecution agencies have recovered additional sums using these powers.
The number of confiscation orders made by the courts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and earlier legislation, since the Act came into force is as follows:
Number 2003-04 1,497 2004-05 2,519 2005-06 3,807 2006-07 4,116 2007-08 4,903