Posted on 24th September 2018
A new campaign to help take criminal cash, cars and other property across the East Midlands has been launched.
Operation Bling needs the help of the public to find those with "too much bling" and encourages them to "give us a ring" and help recover criminals assets.
Across the East Midlands more than £150m is owed by criminals from illegal activities - with £30m owed by criminals in Derbyshire.
The operation, which is being run across the forces in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire, will bring together information from the public and officers to help support Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) cases.
WHAT IS POCA?
Any money made as the result of crime, or obtained in connection with an offence, can be recovered by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Confiscation proceedings can be brought after a conviction for drugs, fraud, and other offences where there has been financial gain.
Anything bought with proceeds of crime can also be confiscated - cars, jewellery, even homes.
Officers compile a report that shows what gain a criminal has made from a crime. A judge is then able to put in place an order for the person to repay an amount immediately – usually within 30 days or face a prison sentence – and then the balance will remain on their criminal file.
This where we need the help of people across the East Midlands to let us know if someone in their community is living beyond their means – either as a convicted criminal or if they are suspected of being involved in criminality.
Chief Constable Peter Goodman, said: “The vast majority of crime we see is carried out to make money – if we can stop people from living a lavish lifestyle on the back of crime then we will take away one of the main motivators.
“The POCA legislation is a powerful tool that police can use to claw-back money criminals have stolen from their local communities and, hopefully, dissuade others from thinking that a life of crime can pay.
“We know that criminals don’t respect boundaries and this new campaign will make sure that no matter where in the East Midlands they may travel – they will not escape justice.”
Detective Inspector Debbie King, who leads the fraud team in Derbyshire, said: “In the last year £4.9m was recovered from criminals across the East Midlands.
“The more information that we receive from the public - the more money we can reclaim from the criminals.
“If you know someone is a convicted criminal and they have a new car on the drive, a shiny watch on their wrist or have been on yet another holiday – then we want to hear about it. We also want to hear about people who you may suspect of being involved in criminality and have unexplained wealth.
“All information is treated in the strictest confidence and there a number of ways – including using social media – to get in touch.
“Money taken using the legislation is used to further target criminals and their assets and help make communities safer through the funding of various policing initiatives.”
If you want pass on any information you should contact your local force using one of the below methods - please quote Op Bling in any correspondence.
You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.