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What is the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)?
The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is a piece of legislation that was created in order to tackle organised crime. POCA gives police officers the power to seize cash and recover assets that have been bought by criminals using money obtained illegally. Any money and assets recovered by the police under POCA can then be used for positive action, either to help fund further investigations into money laundering and financial crime, or to fund community projects.
The idea of POCA is to show criminals that crime does not pay, by taking away the money they have made through illegal activities. By recovering the assets and proceeds of their crimes, the police are not only denying criminals and their families and associates use of them, but by removing them - particularly status symbols such as cars and houses - they are also reducing the iconic status of criminals and crime. Plus, if their assets are seized, it makes it more difficult for criminals to fund further illegal activities. Part of the POCA legislation requires regulated businesses to report any suspicions about criminal property or money laundering they have to the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (part of the National Crime Agency)
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