23 Nov 2018
By Helena Wood
The British government claims to be focussing on its ability to seize the proceeds of organised crime, but the response remains piecemeal, underfunded and poorly coordinated
As a seasoned follower of the UK’s progress (or lack thereof) in removing wealth from criminals, it is easy for the author to be cynical about the launch of yet another government strategy – in this case the new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy – which claims to put asset confiscation at the heart of the government’s response.
The previous iteration of the strategy made a raft of commitments, but with asset confiscation rates flatlining in recent years, the UK’s place as the ‘traveller’s choice’ destination for shady asset sequestration has proved impervious to a response that is grounded in rhetoric rather than action.
However, viewing the strategy with a less jaded eye offers some cause for optimism. Firstly, the strategy places asset confiscation at the heart of the ‘pursue’ strand of the response, rather than as an adjunct or niche capability.
Recognition, at a political level, that asset recovery is one of the most powerful tools available to disrupt and deter serious and organised criminality may go some way to promoting investment in the discipline throughout UK policing.
Secondly, as highlighted by RUSI research in 2017, financial investigation techniques remain underused in the fight against serious and organised crime, including as a route to asset confiscation.
LINK TO THE FULL ARTICLE.
This article was first published by RUSI.org. The views expressed are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent those of RUSI or any other institution.
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