News item

POCA: tool for good

The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is an essential tool to protect consumers from criminals says the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) as the powers under the act are extended on 2 November.

Ron Gainsford, TSI’s chief executive, said:  ‘Certain sections of the media have been quick to describe the extension of powers under POCA as ‘draconian Al Capone’ tools now available to target minor offenders.

‘From our point of view POCA powers are essential tools to bring criminals to task and stop them feeding off the vulnerable and undermining legitimate businesses.  Trading standards is a force for good – this is less about Al Capone, more about Robin Hood!

‘On a practical level what the extended powers means to a trading standards officer is that if they intercept a counterfeit seller on a market stall, they can not only seize the goods, but also the cash made selling them.

‘Asset recovery is critical in the fight against all levels of crime – adding the ability to recover money has simply made this tool sharper.’

Mr Gainsford also pointed out that only accredited financial investigators can use the POCA powers – not just anyone within the nominated agencies.