Targeting criminal finances

We explore every opportunity to disrupt serious and organised crime. Confiscating criminals' assets like cash or property is one highly effective tactic we use to achieve this.

By denying criminals access to financing we can:

  • Prevent criminals from finding the seed funding necessary to plan and deliver future crimes
  • Negatively impact relationships between criminal groups and impair their willingness to collaborate in future
  • Ensure criminals don't profit from their crimes
  • Strip away their wealth and status - often the reason they enter criminality in the first place

The primary objective of asset denial isn't to recover the most amount of money, but to disrupt criminal activity. Asset denial is an operational tactic we use to target the highest risk and cause maximum disruption to serious and organised criminals. We prioritise recovery of assets where the disruption caused will be greatest.

Infographic: Criminal assets restrained or frozen as a result of NCA activity in 2017/18

Criminal assets restrained or frozen as a result of NCA activity in 2017/18

How we do it

Where assets have been used to commit crime - for a example a car used to smuggle drugs – assets will usually be confiscated as part of the criminal investigation. These assets will typically be auctioned and the proceeds used to compensate victims or returned to the public purse.

Where assets are suspected of being the proceeds of crime but cannot be linked to a criminal conviction – or where a criminal conviction has failed - we can use civil recovery powers to confiscate them.

Civil Recovery & Tax

Someone doesn't need to have been convicted of a crime for us to pursue their assets. In fact the NCA has unique powers to pursue serious and organised criminals through combining both the powers of Part 5 (Civil) snd Part 6 (Tax) of the Proceeds of Crime Act to fundamentally impact on the wealth and status of criminals who operate at the high end of high risk.

Asset recovery powers available under the Proceeds of Crime Act focus on assets and property rather than individuals. We simply have to prove on the balance of probability that assets or property have been acquired through unlawful conduct. Any profits made from assets obtained through unlawful activity can also be recovered.

Find out more about our Civil Recovery & Tax powers available under the Proceeds of Crime Act, including referrals from police and law enforcement.

 Criminal assets recovered as a result of NCA activity in 2017/18

Criminal assets recovered as a result of NCA activity in 2017/18

Proceeds of Crime Centre

The NCA's Proceeds of Crime Centre (PoCC) is responsible for accrediting and monitoring the performance of all financial investigators in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Centre also provides training in financial investigation, asset recovery and the operation of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002, the legislation which underpins these activities.