Changes planned for dealing with criminals’ seized assets

AN INITIATIVE to hit criminals in their wallets has raised millions of pounds for Bailiwick crime fighting and community organisations.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29258708)
(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29258708)

Now changes are being proposed in how that money is managed and spent.

The seized asset fund was set up more than 20 years ago and currently has a balance of £15.3m.

Under the scheme, convicted criminals can lose expensive assets where there is no legitimate explanation for their ownership.

A policy letter has been drawn up to change the governance of the fund and it will be presented to the States for debate.

A review into the fund identified some issues that needed to be brought up to date, including the absence of political representation in the structure, limited reporting, and organisational limits on accessing the money.

The proposed distribution model sets out that seized assets are first used for recovery costs, support victim compensation, and fulfil international agreements.

After those three priorities are met, the new model would divide any remaining funds between a ring-fenced internal fund and the Social Investment Fund, which helps charities and community groups.

The idea is that the internal fund would be reserved for distinct initiatives, such as one-off projects or short-term initiatives.

These would all be aimed at improving the performance of the criminal justice system, reducing the crime rate, and repairing the damage caused by crime.

For example, this should help Home Affairs to apply financial support to criminal justice measures more widely, such as in the prison or the Probation Service.

Initiatives involving education and health are recognised as having an impact on criminal behaviour.

It should also support Home Affairs in the pursuit of money laundering, terrorist financing, and the financing of weapons of mass destruction.

By channelling resources through the Social Investment Fund, rather than a separate committee, the thinking is that it will create a more streamlined and easier system for the charities.

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