Essex police seize £3.1m in proceeds of crime

The value of assets seized from criminals in Essex has risen by 30% in the past year from £2.4m to £3.1m.

The increase in seizures comes as Essex Police works to cut £42m from its £261.9million budget by 2014/15.

Under a Home Office incentive scheme, the asset haul will mean a payment of more than £300,000 to Essex police.

The force said plans to further target criminal assets will not affect wider policing.

A police spokesman said: "Activity this year in targeting assets acquired from the proceeds of crime has seen Essex Police acquire more than £3.1million from criminals.

Victims of crime

"We continue to use the legislation to send the message that if you benefit from your criminal activities you will be made to pay.

"The work in this area is ever expanding and financial profiling and subsequent prosecution is a powerful tool in dismantling organised crime and disrupting career criminals."

Anthony Jackson, chairman of Essex Police Authority, said the increase in "confiscation performance" has not affected "wider policing business".

He said Essex had benefited from pooling resources and knowledge with Kent police.

"Returning compensation to victims of crime remains a primary focus," he said.

Mr Jackson said the force was not only targeting "organised crime or cash-rich individuals" but appointing dedicated financial investigators into all policing areas to "support everyday policing".

Under the Home Office's Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme, the seizures will mean a payment to Essex police this year of least £360,000 - almost double last year's £189,257.

The increase in revenue comes amid police plans to sell off nine of its stations and nine other buildings.

The constabulary hopes the property sales will generate between £4m and £5m.

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