ERSOU seizes £150,000 in latest use of financial powers to tackle organised crime

Thu 13th, Sep

The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) has made use of landmark new powers to seize around £150,000 as part of an investigation into organised crime.

The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) has made use of landmark new powers to seize around £150,000 as part of an investigation into organised crime. This money will now be shared between the Home Office and the forces that ERSOU represents. On Thursday, 6 September, ERSOU secured an Account Forfeiture Order against a Hertfordshire-based firm under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) worth 165,507 Euros (£149,125). This is the first confirmed forfeiture ERSOU has secured through POCA legislation since it was introduced in January. So far ERSOU has led the way in using new powers under POCA. The unit has secured more than 30 Account Freezing Orders, the first stage of the investigation process, which have totalled more than £2 million. The new powers permit police to freeze funds which are suspected to come from or could be used in unlawful conduct, so that an investigation into the money can be undertaken whilst the funds are frozen. The threshold test is on the balance of probabilities. Detective Inspector John Tacey, from ERSOU’s Economic Crime Directorate, said: “This new legislation presents significant opportunities for police to identify, freeze and ultimately forfeit money which appears to be of suspicious origin, thereby ensuring that those funds cannot be used in future unlawful activity and depriving the criminals of ill-gotten gains. “Since the legislation came into force ERSOU have undertaken a proactive approach to it, to continue to disrupt and dismantle serious and organised crime and to reinforce the message that crime does not pay.”