Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews has welcomed new reforms making it easier for criminal justice agencies to recover the illegal gains of criminals.
The Law Commission of England and Wales plans to overhaul the system for recovering the proceeds of criminal activities which could lead to the recovery of millions of pounds of extra funds from offenders each year.
Mr Matthews, who was recently appointed the new Chair of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Criminal Justice Board, said the announced changes would help to return more money to the public and speed up the time at which the funds could be recovered.
He said: “Any effort to increase the speed at which victims receive compensation is to be warmly welcomed. Criminals should never be allowed to profit from their crimes, and it is important we ensure the system for recouping those illegal gains is as effective and robust as it should be.
“It is estimated these reforms could net an extra £8million in confiscation funds across England and Wales every year – this is not an insignificant amount. I am particularly supportive of the Law Commission’s recommendations to improve police training in the acquisition of these assets and the use of restraint orders to prevent a defendant from protecting funds that might later be subjected to confiscation proceedings. It is vital criminal justice agencies have the powers to use every tool in the book to recover these funds to make the system fairer, quicker and more effective.”
The reforms are the culmination of a Home Office-commissioned review.
Among the recommendations made by the Law Commission is the acceleration of confiscation proceedings by establishing strict timetables for hearings, giving courts the power to impose ‘contingent enforcement orders’ at the time a confiscation order is made in the event the defendant does not pay back the proceeds of crime in a set time and giving greater consideration to the defendant’s ability to pay so that defendants will be obligated to provider clearer and more detailed evidence of their financial position if they claim to be unable to pay their order.
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Posted on Thursday 17th November 2022