My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department is today laying before Parliament the 2014-15 annual report of the appointed person under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, copies of which are available in the Vote Office. The appointed person is an independent person who scrutinises the use of the search power to support the measures in the Act to seize and forfeit cash used for criminal purposes.
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, Mr Douglas Bain, 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. He has made no recommendations in his report this year.
From 1 April 2014 to the end of March 2015 over £75 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.