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COPFS

Proceeds of Crime Act

Freedom of information request: Proceeds of Crime Act

25 July 2013

Thank you for your e-mail dated 27 June in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).

"Can I have the annual figures since POCA was introduced for:

1. Assets placed under restraint

2. Value of confiscation orders awarded by the courts

3. Sums of cash seized under the act"

 



I attach a table showing the total estimated value of assets restrained under POCA 2002 and POC(Sc) Act 1995.

 

Financial Year

Total estimated value of assets restrained under POCA 2002 and POC(Sc)Act 1995

2003 – 2004

£9,364,913

2004 – 2005

£37,859,489

2005 – 2006

£25,267,723

2006 – 2007

£16,340,505

2007 – 2008

£18,763,252

2008 – 2009

£29,757,235

2009 – 2010

£12,207,875

2010 – 2011

£10,023,507

2011 – 2012

£13,927,350

2012 - 2013

£9,471,720

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also attach a table showing the total amount of confiscation orders obtained under POCA 2002 and POC(Sc)Act 1995

 

Financial Year

Total amount of confiscation orders obtained under POCA 2002 and POC(Sc)Act 1995

2003 – 2004

£1,494,365

2004 – 2005

£1,347,599

2005 – 2006

£3,469,739

2006 – 2007

£4,424,313

2007 – 2008

£2,847,037

2008 – 2009

£3,508,548

2009 – 2010

£2,279,954

2010 – 2011

£16,547,424

2011 – 2012

£7,002,703

2012 - 2013

£8,025,600

 

 You may be aware that restraint in terms of the Proceeds of Crime legislation is the "freezing" of assets in advance of criminal proceedings to avoid potential dissipation. Restraint orders are sought on the basis of information provided to Crown Office by law enforcement.

The figures for restraint and confiscation do not correlate and there are a number of reasons for this, in particular:-

• If the accused is not convicted, no confiscation proceedings will follow and therefore no order will be made. Consideration is given at that stage to the possibility of Civil Recovery Proceedings;

• The accused's entire estate may be restrained (i.e. the restraint may not be limited to the extent of benefit from crime), and at an early stage in proceedings, the benefit from criminality may not be clear;

• At the time restraint is sought there is frequently a degree of urgency. The information provided by law enforcement in relation to the value of the assets identified is based on the use of information tools which may only be able to provide an estimated net value of the asset;

• The information available at the point of restraint is thereafter subject to further investigation by law enforcement and additional evidence is ingathered. Police financial analysts work on providing COPFS with a financial profile;

• Information obtained by both the defence and the Crown during the subsequent enquiries and the confiscation process often provide a more accurate financial picture including details of legitimate income from business and legitimate third party claims on property;

• The restraint figures provided are inclusive of restraint obtained on behalf of foreign countries, including England and Wales.

Accordingly, in the vast majority of cases, the initial financial information reported to COPFS when restraint is sought is subject to recalculation following detailed and thorough investigation, and for good reason the value of the confiscation order is less than the value recorded at the point of restraint.

In addition, given the time involved in the court process, it is very unlikely that if an accused's estate is restrained in one financial year, that the confiscation order will be made in the same financial year.

Your third question is a matter for the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU). This Unit acts on behalf of the Scottish Ministers as the enforcement authority for Scotland under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ("the 2002 Act"). CRU functions under the 2002 Act can be divided into two areas: asset recovery and cash forfeiture. In responding to your request for information, we have provided information about both areas of the CRU's work.

Where proceedings are to be brought on behalf of the Scottish Ministers for the recovery of non-cash assets, the assets may be secured pending recovery by one of two types of court order. The first is an interim administration order (IAO). The second is a prohibitory property order (PPO). Both of these orders are granted by the Court of Session following applications by the CRU. At the time of seeking an IAO or a PPO, it is unnecessary for an accurate valuation of the assets to be carried out. Any valuation would also only be accurate for a limited period of time and so would be of limited use. Accordingly, in terms of Section 17 of FOISA this information is not held. Such limited assessments as are carried out for the purposes of determining whether or not to bring proceedings are based on very general estimates which are not collated. Carrying out accurate valuations of all of the assets which are or have been the subject of civil recovery proceedings would be a costly and time-consuming exercise which would not contribute to their ultimate recovery.

The following figures set out the seizures of cash which were referred to the Civil Recovery Unit in each of the years since its creation. Where cash is seized by police or customs officers, either an application is made for its continued detention pending forfeiture proceedings or a forfeiture application is made immediately. Accordingly, the following sums of cash may be regarded as having been restrained during the relevant years:-

 

Year to 31 March

Amounts of cash seized under POCA 2002 (£)

2003/04

1,433,631.98

2004/05

1,658,069.58

2005/06

1,287,445.93

2006/07

1,535,266.35

2007/08

2,323,099.25

2008/09

2,823,760.78

2009/10

2,797,757.81

2010/11

2,284,367.04

2011/12

3,025,200.21

2012/13

2,049,172.25

Total

21,217,771.18

 

The total sums remitted to the Scottish Consolidated Fund by the Civil Recovery Unit for each year since its creation are as follows. In the case of non-cash assets, the sums listed are the sums realised following ingathering of the assets:-



Amounts remitted to the Scottish Consolidated Fund



Year to 31 March

Asset Recovery (£)

Cash Forfeiture (£)

Total (£)

2003/04

23,986

672,824

696,810

2004/05

203,408

797,839

1,001,247

2005/06

761,602

604,200

1,365,802

2006/07

496,215

1,200,427

1,696,642

2007/08

1,365,267

1,352,351

2,717,618

2008/09

789,968

2,037,728

2,827,696

2009/10

965,652

2,260,913

3,226,565

2010/11

7,438,450

1,879,830

9,318,280

2011/12

1,310,069

2,241,079

3,551,148

2012/13

2,348,638

1,774,518

4,123,156

Total

15,703,255

14,821,709

30,524,964