Home News Launch of consultation on Criminal Finances Act Codes of Practice announced by Home Office

Launch of consultation on Criminal Finances Act Codes of Practice announced by Home Office

by Brian Sims

A four-week consultation has been launched on the Codes of Practice that will help law enforcement officers confiscate valuable items and other assets acquired using proceeds of crime as well as tackle the financing of terrorism. Indeed, law enforcement agencies will soon be able to seize works of art and precious stones and metals that are being used to launder criminal funds. Measures in the Criminal Finances Act mean that officers will also be able to seize betting receipts, casino tokens and gaming vouchers in the same way that they currently confiscate cash.

The Criminal Finances Act, which received Royal Assent on 27 April this year, gives law enforcement agencies and partners enhanced capabilities and greater powers to recover the proceeds of crime, tackle money laundering, tax evasion and corruption and combat the financing of terrorism.

The Act will help to make the UK an even more hostile place for the corrupt and the criminal through measures including Unexplained Wealth Orders, which require someone who’s suspected of being involved in serious criminality to explain the origins of their wealth if it appears disproportionate to their income.

Security Minister Ben Wallace commented: “Criminals don’t just deal in cash. Rather, they move or hide their money in the form of expensive pieces of art, buying and selling valuable precious metal and stones or even purchasing rare stamps to mask their amassed wealth. It’s absolutely vital that law enforcement agencies can take these high value, easily transportable assets from them so that they cannot use them to fund their criminal lifestyles. This Government is sending a clear message to criminals that it will not stand by and watch them use the UK to launder their dirty money or fund acts of terrorism.”

The changes will be supported by new Codes of Practice for law enforcement officers, which were published on Monday 31 July for consultation. Following on from the four-week consultation period, the Codes will then be subject to further Parliamentary scrutiny.

The Codes being consulted on also include:

*updated guidance on exercising powers to search and seize and detain property

*updated guidance on the exercise of investigation powers in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to include new and extended powers relating to Unexplained Wealth Orders and Disclosure Orders

*updated guidance for prosecutors on investigation powers, including who can apply for orders, time limits in conducting searches and the seizure of materials

*updated guidance on the exercise of powers in the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 to include new and extended powers relating to administratively forfeiting terrorist cash and new civil recovery powers to seize, detain and forfeit terrorist assets and terrorist money held in bank and building society accounts

Interested organisations and members of the public are now invited to take part in the four-week consultation in respect of the Codes of Practice providing guidance on the exercise of the powers. The consultation will close on Friday 25 August.

The consultation documents can be read on the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 Codes of Practice page.

Home Secretary hails inaugural meeting of Global Internet Forum

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has hailed the first meeting of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism as a “major step forward” in the fight against online terrorist material.

Speaking at the Forum’s first gathering, which was held in San Francisco, Rudd welcomed the willingness of Internet Service Providers to develop a co-ordinated industry response to the global threat.

The Home Secretary stated: “It’s encouraging to see so many organisations here today willing to take a stand on this vital agenda. I want to thank the companies I’ve met while here for the strides they’re taking in making the Internet a hostile place for terrorists to operate, but we need to do more to help keep our communities safe. The scale of the threat we face isn’t something any one of us can tackle alone. Only through collective action across Governments, civil society and industry can we seek to defeat it, and I very much welcome the commitment of the Forum to take this work forward.”

Rudd continued: “There’s no doubt that the challenge is complex, but it’s important to remember that behind these discussions about technology lies our determination to protect people from being radicalised and becoming the victims of a terrorist attack. Our enemy is trying to ‘weaponise’ vulnerable people in their homes. It’s a war where the front line can be a screen in a young person’s bedroom or the mobile phone in their pocket.”

In conclusion, Rudd asserted: “We must be united in our resolve to purge the Internet of this poisonous and pernicious material. Today has been a significant step towards achieving that goal, but there’s more to be done. Let’s work together to take terrorism offline.”

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