Kent Police are using a Range Rover Sport seized from a drug dealer to highlight a campaign about seizing criminals' assets. Its owner was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 18 months in prison for drug offences. Subsequently the 4x4 has been used at various locations around the county including addresses where drug warrants have been executed, prisons and other key locations. It is a tactic that has also been used by the West Yorkshire Police among others.
Kent police has recovered £3,690,000 worth of assets taken from criminals in the last eight months. In addition to this, almost £570,000 has been subject to forfeiture from criminal profiteering. Forfeiture hearings are held to ensure that anyone profiting from crime and not being convicted is still held to account by the courts. The Serious and Economic Crime Unit at Kent Police targets offenders benefitting from proceeds of crime and brings them before the courts under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to ensure nobody gains from their criminal activity.
Detective Inspector Mark Fairhurst of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said, 'We know that criminals use Kent ports for moving large amounts of cash connected with crime. However, cash is now also being moved via property, other tangible assets and complex offshore accounts. Criminals may believe they are becoming smarter at hiding assets but our investigators will trace them and bring them before the courts to recover the proceeds from their criminal behaviour.'
He added that, 'POCA proceedings allow us to recover profits from crime, even, on some occasions, if a person has not been convicted. This really enforces our message that crime does not pay, and that offenders leaving the justice system are not benefiting from the crimes they commit. Not only does POCA take the money out of criminals’ pockets and stop them using it to commit further offences, it is put back into policing to reinvest in initiatives to reduce crime.'
More information at www.kent.police.uk/ click here for Kent Police