HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 cc861-2W
Chris Ruane

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what principles govern the allocation of funds received from the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; and if he will give examples of where and how this money has been spent. [172932]

Caroline Flint

[holding answer 13 May 2004]: The general principles which govern the allocation of funds received from the confiscation of criminal assets under proceeds of crime legislation, are:

  1. (a) to build asset recovery capacity in in front line law enforcement and prosecuting agencies as a contribution to crime reduction;
  2. (b) to incentivise law enforcement agencies to do more asset recovery and;
  3. (c) to recycle a proportion of the proceeds of crime into community based crime reduction projects.

The Recovered Assets Incentive Fund was set up last financial year to incentivise asset recovery by asset recovery agencies including law enforcement and prosecuting authorities. £15.5 million a year for three years has been allocated to the found. The funds have been fully committed to projects, agreed by the Association of Chief Police Officers and others that will increase the confiscation of criminal assets.

Of £46.5 million that will be available under the fund over three years, up to £12 million a year has been allocated to set up four new multi-agency Regional Asset Recovery Teams (RARTs) to disrupt organised crime groups, confiscate more criminal assets and to tackle money laundering. A successful pilot in the West Midlands has been rolled out to the North West, North East, Wales and London. The teams have been operational since February and comprise staff from the police, National Crime Squad, Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, National Criminal Intelligence Service, Crown Prosecution Service, Assets Recovery Agency and the Inland Revenue.

Accepted organisations for GR. funding 2004–05
Grant Pension Total
London and South
1. Avon and Bristol Law Centre 41,600 n/a
2. Aylesbury REC 33,800 17,963
3. Bath and N E Somerset REC 29,900 n/a
4. Bedford REC 39,500 n/a
5. Bexley CRE 29,300 n/a
6. PACE—Bournemouth University1 6,500 n/a
7. Bristol REC 26,900 33,627
8. Bromley REC 30,000 n/a
9. BTCV—Swindonl 15,000 n/a
10. City Life Church, Southampton (CLEAR Project)1 15,000 n/a
11. Devon and Exeter REC 38,600 n/a
12. Dockland Settlement No. 2—Isle of Dogs1 15,000 n/a
13. Dorset REC 20,000 n/a
14. Ealing REC 55,000 n/a

An additional £7 million a year for three years has been made available separately from the Recovered Assets Incentive Fund for community based crime reduction projects.

Last year £4 million was allocated to the Adventure Capital Fund to regenerate communities across England. £3 million was allocated to regional government offices, of which £1.5 million funded anti-gun crime initiatives and £1.5 million funded capacity building in crime and disorder reduction partnerships. Of the £7 million available this year, £3 million has been committed to funding a community justice centre pilot scheme in Liverpool; £2 million to fund support services for victims of sexual offences in England and Wales; and £2 million to fund new and existing projects to tackle gun crime in England and Wales.

On 24 February I announced a new police incentivisation scheme to be introduced in 2004–05 that will enable police forces in England and Wales, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, to receive a share of the criminal assets they recover locally, in the following year. Separate arrangements exist in Scotland. The scheme has the full support of the Association of Chief Police Officers in England and Wales. Police forces will benefit by receiving a third of all the recovered assets above £40 million in 2004–05, increasing to half for 2005–06. The maximum benefit available to the police will be £43 million in 2004–05 rising to £65 million in 2005–06. The Government will be using the first £40 million to help fund existing commitments in the asset recovery field.

There will be no restrictions on how the police should spend this money so there may be scope in the future for them to devote some of the funds to community-based projects aimed at crime reduction. We are currently considering how we might be able to extend the scheme to 2006–07 and beyond.