This report examines the use of financial investigation techniques in countering organized crime in the United Kingdom (UK).
Financial investigators in the UK typically operate within the legal framework of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), which introduced a number of asset recovery powers, including the use of restraint orders and post-conviction confiscation orders, as well as cash seizure and civil forfeiture/recovery. Related policies include the Asset Recovery Incentivization Scheme, which allows frontline agencies to keep a proportion of assets recovered. The current research concludes that financial investigation techniques have the potential to benefit all stages of investigations into organized crime. It recommends that investigating officers routinely assess whether to use financial investigation techniques in all cases that involve organized crime. Regarding the current use of financial investigations in organized-crime cases, they were rarely used to identify organized criminal activity. Financial investigation techniques were used in more than half of the cases examined during the pre- and post-arrest investigations and the case-building phase. When financial investigation was used, it contributed to the investigation and case-building in a number of ways. The benefits included the identification of organized crime enterprises, the determination of the extent of an organized crime operation, the location of assets, and the identification of ownership and use of properties. In half of the cases examined, evidence from the financial investigation bolstered the prosecution's cases. Challenges in financial investigations were also identified. There are indications that the enforcement of restraint and confiscation orders, as well as overseas inquiries, sometimes frustrates investigators; further work needs to be done in these areas. This research used semi-structured interviews with individuals involved in the investigation and prosecution of 60 organized crime cases. 3 tables and 11 references
Great Britain Home Office
50 Queen Anne's Gate, London, SW1H 9AT England, United Kingdom
Home Office Research Report 65