I can’t imagine that HMG enacts legislation with a view to spawning a whole new line of British pulp fiction novels and crime thrillers but it certainly sounds like it:
“New powers allowing police and customs officers to seize criminals’ assets come into force on Monday.
The Proceeds of Crime Act will mean that money can be confiscated from all types of criminals and not just drug dealers, as previous laws allowed.”
‘All types of criminals’?. Only the financially successful ones surely?
The Proceeds of Crime Act referred to in the article has established the Civil Assets Recovery Agency (CARA) as a branch of the police force empowered to confiscate assets from those ‘suspected’ of criminal activity.
“The new act will enable police and customs officers to search for cash anywhere in the UK and not just at the country’s borders as was previously allowed.
From now on they’ll be able to crash into your home and root around the sofa looking for lost coins. Don’t laugh, you can pick up quite a lot of money like that.
“Even when there is no criminal prosecution a new assets recovery agency can now step in.”
Which is to say, they can target anyone they want whenever they like and for reasons they will never have to prove and whilst that all sounds (and is) scary enough, I have every reason to believe that it is HMG that will regret this in the long run.
Most nominally law-abiding, work-a-day citizens will not be targeted and, consequently, will bask in blissful ignorance. No so the drug-runners and gangsters, who will be only too aware of it (they are always far better versed in the law than most citizens and quite a few lawyers) and the smart ones will regard CARA as a corruption charter. For relatively low-paid public officials, the lure of easy cash, cars or luxury goods is something to which they can all too easily become addicted. Processing law-breakers through the justice system is difficult and time-consuming. Surely much more tempting to let the gangsters get on with doing whatever it is they do and live off the earnings.
This isn’t about the government stopping criminals; this is about the government getting into bed with criminals. It’s a scriptwriters dream.