More than £600,000 forfeited since introduction of new legislation

Wed 13th, Mar

ERSOU is continuing maximise use to new legislation

The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) is continuing to maximise the use of legislation which allows them to freeze and seize money held in bank accounts which they believe could be linked to criminal activity, a year after new legislation was introduced.

In the past 12 months the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) has used newly introduced Criminal Finances Act, and amendment to the Proceeds of Crime Act, to freeze a number of bank accounts and investigate their contents, resulting in £629,000 being forfeited since the legislation was introduced. Account freezing orders were introduced in 2018 as part of the changes to POCA.

They allow law enforcement agencies to freeze accounts they believe to be linked to criminal activity, while they investigate further. Currently ERSOU have around £1.6 million frozen while their special financial investigators examine the accounts. If the investigation finds that the money is either stolen, or is intended to be used in unlawful activity, it is forfeited to ERSOU and its member forces.

A Hertfordshire based company was ordered to forfeit almost £150,000, after an investigation by ERSOU led to the conclusion that it was operating a launder money from suspected boiler room frauds.

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Peters, who leads on economic crime for ERSOU, said: “The new legislation introduced 12 months ago presented us with significant opportunities to identify, freeze, and ultimately forfeit money which we believe is suspicious. This in turn ensures that the funds cannot be used in any future illegal activity.

"We’ve worked hard to maximise the use of this legislation, to continue to disrupt and dismantle serious and organised crime, and to reinforce the message that crime does not pay.”