New figures reveal that the City of London Police seized £1.5 million in assets and money from criminals in the year ending March. These recoveries were made possible
through confiscation and forfeiture orders, which compel those found guilty to pay fines or allow the police to seize their assets. The funds obtained through these processes are then used to combat crime or returned to victims.
Home Office data indicates that City of London Police's asset seizures decreased significantly from £31.4 million in 2021-22 to £1.5 million in the latest year. Across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the total value of assets recovered was approximately £339 million, marking a 5% decline from the previous year. A substantial portion of these recoveries came from fraud cases, with the Serious Fraud Office accounting for nearly £103 million in confiscation and forfeiture orders, slightly surpassing the £102 million recovered by all local police forces combined.
It remains unclear whether this decrease in asset seizures is due to a reduction in the volume of fraud cases or more effective handling of such crimes. In May, the government introduced a three-year fraud strategy aimed at preventing financial cold calling and enhancing enforcement agencies' abilities to combat cryptocurrency scams.
Law enforcement agencies receive funding based on the value of assets they seize, with local police forces receiving nearly £49 million in the last financial year through this scheme, including £550,000 allocated to the City of London Police. However, of the £179 million obtained through confiscation orders, less than £16 million was distributed as compensation to victims, marking the lowest level in at least five years, with nearly £11 million allocated to fraud victims.
A Home Office spokesperson emphasized the government's commitment to using the full extent of the law to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains and provide compensation to innocent victims. Over the past six financial years, £1.6 billion has been recovered in criminal assets, including nearly £340 million in the past year, with ongoing efforts to improve the asset recovery regime. Photo by André Gustavo Stumpf from Brasil, Wikimedia commons.