What does the police do with seized criminal cash?

Date published: 29 June 2024

Seized money from criminal operations has to go somewhere - but what exactly is Greater Manchester Police doing with it all?

Through force-wide policing activity conducted daily, Greater Manchester Police seize money by executing warrants and conducting stop searches on individuals and vehicles. The 'account freezing order' team also seizes money through criminal bank accounts - often bringing in thousands at a time.

Through the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS), GMP gives back a large proportion of money seized from criminals as a result of policing activity.

The funds are passed to the Asset Detention and Recovery Unit. These specialist officers and staff build the cases that go to court. Using the balance of probability, officers must provide evidence that the money has been obtained through criminal profits.

Once the money is taken to court and the case is successful, Greater Manchester Police can legally recover the finances to benefit the community.

Around 50 percent of the recovered money is kept to spend on community initiatives, while the other 50 percent is returned to the Home Office.

The retained funds are used either for community initiatives or within the force to further asset recovery work, policing operations, and community projects.

A notable example of how the funds are utilised within the force is the crime prevention team's successful bid in securing £66,000 to purchase crime prevention products.

These products are distributed to victims and potential victims of burglary and vehicle crime in neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester.

The materials include window alarms, door alarms, timer switches, fake TVs to simulate occupancy and deter burglars, ultraviolet marking pens, and property marking warning stickers.

Detective Inspector Sarah Langley of GMP’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “It's right that the money we recover from criminal’s is used to benefit those that need it the most from the communities we serve.

“It’s an important part of the justice system that those who benefit from the profits of crime get their finances stripped from them and aren't allowed to enjoy this money at the detriment of everyone else, and it’s even more satisfying to know that it is now being used for a good purpose.

“We have spoken to a few organisations who have received funding within the last year to find out how the funding has been used to help them extend their reach to benefit even more people across Greater Manchester.”

Tackling Minds is a local community interest company that helps those suffering from mental health by taking them fishing. They help others find solutions to mental health solutions, by ensuring they access the support and care they need.

They said: "Thanks to the ARIS funding, Tackling Minds has been empowered to extend a lifeline to individuals grappling with drug and alcohol addiction. Through our therapeutic fishing sessions, we're not just casting lines, but hope, healing, and a path to recovery."

City in the Community is a charity who empowers lives through football, they said: “City in The Community has been fortunate to receive ARIS funding which has been used to deliver much needed sport and mentoring sessions though Manchester and concentrating on the Wythenshawe and Hulme areas.

“The ARIS fund has enabled us to be a consistent presence for young people in some areas where our projects are much needed to empower healthy lives through football.”

The Bolton Scout Trust said: “We are delighted by the ARIS funding. It means that we are able to replace the no longer fit for purpose Activity Barn which will help us to provide excellent facilities for all our visitors once it is completed.”

Non-profit organisations which benefit a large number of people, can apply for funding to cover 12 months’ of activities which pledge to support GMP’s objectives to fight, prevent and reduce crime; keep people safe; and care for victims.

Greater Manchester Police states that: "regardless of how much criminals think they can successfully hide their ill-gotten gains, the specialist teams in the Economic Crime Unit know how to locate, seize, and legally recover these funds through the courts."

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