PCCs POCA Campaign Could Go International (3 Dec 2013)

A campaign spearheaded by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner to keep ill gotten gains in the community could go international after comments by a Home Office Minister.

PCC Mark Burns Williamson's campaign and petition to get all illegal cash seized locally ploughed back into West Yorkshire and across the country, rather than sent to the Treasury, started over year ago.

The campaign, focusing on the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation, has already received attention from Policing Minister Damian Green, who has agreed to consider Mr Burns Willamson's proposal.

Now James Brokenshire, Minister for Security at the Home Office, has told the Police and Crime Commissioner loopholes used by criminals to move cash overseas needed to be closed and agreed to look at how much is reinvested locally.

The pair spoke at the Cutting Serious and Organised Crime event in London yesterday where Mr Brokenshire was delivering a keynote speech on organised crime.

Mr Burns Williamson said: "The Government recognise the campaign is gaining momentum and the first part of James Brokenshire's speech was about using Proceeds of Crime to retrieve money and assets acquired by criminals, not just here but internationally as well.

"I got up and welcomed that the Government had finally started to move on this following my year-long campaign and manifesto commitment to get more POCA cash sent back to the communities affected by crime.

"I made a plea to Mr Brokenshire that, when considering the legislation, they also need to revisit the proportion of money that goes back to the Treasury because as a matter of principle most or all of that money should be kept at a local level.

"He acknowledged that if loopholes were tightened up it would stop criminals currently getting away with millions of pounds and didn't dismiss the points made."

It comes as Kirklees Council will today discuss a motion at full council to abandon retention of any proportion of funding from the Proceeds of Crime Act and reinvest the money locally.

To sign the petition visit  http://action.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/page/s/giveusbackallthemoney.

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