Proceeds of Crime Act
The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is an essential tool to protect consumers from criminals.
From TSI's point of view POCA powers are vital in bringing criminals to task, to stop them feeding off the vulnerable and undermining legitimate businesses. Trading Standards often exercises its POCA powers in tandem with the police or other significant enforcement agencies.
What the extended powers mean 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. In the modern era trading standards officers and services are engaged in the fight against crime and criminal activity, at all levels and involving all ranges of illegally gained financial assets.
There is no evidence of misuse or abuse of POCA powers and procedure by trading standards officers (trained and competent financial investigators) or local authority trading standards services. Any loss of POCA powers would seriously undermine the ability of trading standards to investigate and secure sanctions and illegal asset recovery against unforgiving and unprincipled criminals.