A WEST Midlands Police team which recovers the proceeds of crime from criminals, says it’s been so successful it will soon be able to use the money it gets from offenders to fund itself and pay for future investigations.
The team, which is made up of financial investigation experts, launched in 2018 to trace and recover ill-gotten gains from organised criminals and drug gangs. The Operation was designed to hit the criminals where it hurts most… in the pocket.
It was initially funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner, but the initiative proved so successful that the team behind Operation Pound now believes it can fund its own police investigations using the cash retrieved from criminals.
The money is recovered using financial intelligence and information and the powerful civil elements of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
It means the offenders are now effectively paying the wages of the police team which is investigating them, something the Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, says has a ‘rather nice ring to it’.
In 2021, the financial investigators seized more than £1.1million of ill-gotten gains. Whilst since its inception the team has confiscated nearly £2.5m after investigating hundreds of cases.
“I’m delighted that the Operation Pound team has confiscated so much proceeds of crime from offenders that it can now fund itself,” said Simon Foster, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.
“This is a win, win. Money is taken off criminals and used to investigate more criminal activity. It’s a virtuous circle.
“I’m sure offenders who break the law will not be too happy when they read this, but that’s fine by me.”
Jenny Birch, the former Head of the Economic Crime Unit, said: “I have watched the team evolve and I am so proud of what they have achieved, especially the impact that they have made against those who commit crime.”