My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before Parliament the 2009-10 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 power introduced to support the measures in the Act to seize and forfeit criminal cash.
The report gives the appointed person’s opinion as to the circumstances and manner in which the search powers conferred by the Act are being exercised. I am pleased that the appointed person, Andrew Clarke, has expressed satisfaction with the operation of the search power and has found that there is nothing to suggest that the procedures are not being followed in accordance with the Act.
From 1 April 2009 to the end of March 2010 over £63 million in cash was seized by law enforcement agencies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 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, closely monitored.
Copies of the report are available in the Vote Office.