West Midlands Police have recovered almost £3 million of ill-gotten gains during the last 12 months after financial investigators pursued the 'dirty money’.
The force's Economic Crime Unit have worked diligently to ensure crooks can't benefit from their illegally obtained cash now or in the future. It saw them gather enough evidence to obtain almost 180 confiscation or forfeiture orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) during 2021.
The determined team have overcome the difficulties of the pandemic to continue retrieving money linked to crime and targeting crooks who’ve benefited financially from their illegal activities.
Those criminals who don’t pay up face extended prison sentences, although the debt never goes away and officers are able to recover what is owed in the future.
Money which is recovered can compensate victims of crime or be invested into helping communities under the Police & Crime Commissioner's Active Citizen's Fund. Jenny Birch, head of the Economic Crime Unit, said:
"A criminal being convicted and sent to jail isn't always the end - it can just be the beginning for us. The likes of drug dealers and fraudsters can accrue vast amounts of money, and it's down to us to trace it and prove it's been illegally obtained.
"These are often lengthy and detailed investigations and it's testament to the team we've been able to claw back so much money."
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster added: "I’m so pleased to see our police force hitting criminals where it hurts most, in the pocket.
"If these individuals think they can break the law and profit from their illegal activity then I’m afraid they’re mistaken.
"I use this money to support community groups, via my Active Citizens Fund, meaning the proceeds of crime taken from criminals are used to tackle crime and support communities.
"For example, I recently awarded Wolverhampton Wrestling Club more than £4,400 to promote better mental health services in the area.”
If you have a similar idea for a scheme in your community then you can apply at westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk.