My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Crime Reduction (Vernon Coaker) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I am pleased to announce that the sixth annual report of the appointed person under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 has been laid before Parliament today. 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 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 2007 to the end of March 2008, more than £63 million in cash was seized by police and HM Revenue and Customs Officers under powers in the Act. These sums are subject to 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.