CONVICTED criminals have been ordered to hand back more than £1.6million over the past year.
West Midlands Police’s financial investigators helped to recover the ‘dirty money’ which means crooks cannot benefit from any illegal earnings in the future.
The force’s economic crime unit secured over 100 confiscation or forfeiture orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)
The court orders are pursued after investigations prove criminals have financially benefitted from their crimes – in terms of ready cash or invested in property.
Those 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.
The recovered money can compensate victims or is invested into helping communities under the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Active Citizen’s Fund.
Detective Chief Inspector Alex Pritchard, who heads up the economic crime unit (ECU), said: “We know that criminals involved in the likes of drug dealing and fraud are likely to have accrued large sums of money from their illegal activities.
“So them being convicted and jailed is not the end of things, it’s just the start for us as we seek to trace the cash and prove it’s ‘dirty money.’
“These can often be complex enquiries but we have very skilled staff who are able to pinpoint their illegal gains and ensure that crime doesn’t pay.”
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “It’s always pleasing to see the police deal with criminals robustly, recover proceeds of crime and ensure justice is served.
“I will invest much of the recovered assets and cash back into our region, to support communities that are determined to prevent crime and keep their areas safe and secure.”