Recovering criminal assets

Our aim is to reduce the impact of serious and organised crime.

We want to deny criminals access to their money whenever we can, but the aim is not to generate revenue. The real value of going after the money comes from its disruptive effect on criminal activity.

For example, criminals often rely on the profits from one criminal operation to bankroll the next. When we interrupt that process, and prevent funds being reinvested, criminal plans stall and fail.

This sort of intervention also erodes the reputations of individual criminals and networks, and the confidence of their criminal partners in dealing with them. Once isolated in this way, it is difficult for them to orchestrate end-to-end criminal plans.

Investigating criminal money flows can also provide new leads and identify new suspects. When you are dealing with complex criminal structures, as the NCA does, it is often the money trail which connects higher level players, and the professionals essential to money laundering, to a conspiracy.

That’s why the amount of money we freeze or confiscate does not equal the value of doing it, and why the size of the pot is not an effective measure of success.

The National Crime Agency works in close partnership with UK police forces to identify and seize money derived from criminal activity. Since the start of the NCA, its activity has led directly to operational partners seizing around £16 million in cash and making around 150 related arrests.

We have set up a dedicated Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE) team to coordinate activity across the Agency and with its partners. This includes tackling unenforced confiscation orders and prioritising the orders of the most serious criminals.

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