Changes to investigatory powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA)

 
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Saturday, 16 December 2017

Changes to investigatory powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA)

The following is a message from the SIA, the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom.

“Changes to investigatory powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA)

“The following sets out proposed changes to investigatory powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) for the Security Industry Authority (SIA). There is one issue:

  • Change to the grade of the Senior Appropriate Officers for financial investigations.

“The majority of the Private Security Industry (PSI) industry are compliant with regulation under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 (PSIA), however a minority of operators work outside the regulations; there may be involvement by organised crime groups, or vulnerable workers are exploited. We undertake prosecutions against a small number of PSI operators each year, focusing on those who pose the greatest risk to the public or the regulatory regime.

“Since 2011, we have been keen to use POCA confiscation proceedings in order to remove the criminal benefit of regulatory offending and lessen the likelihood of operators re-entering the PSI using a phoenix company. Such proceedings have historically relied upon police partner cooperation, which due to resources is not always available. Accordingly, we have been unable to undertake financial enquiries on some prosecuted operators. We recognise the benefit of having our own financial investigation capability in order to restrict the utilisation of criminal benefit by rogue operators.

“We are seeking views to a change proposed in this message.

“SIA Powers under POCA
“In November 2015, the Secretary of State granted the SIA powers under POCA, subject to Statutory Instrument number 2015/1853. Details can be found: http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/about-news.aspx?newsID=537&ArtTypeID=13

“The powers relate to England and Wales only. Under the powers granted under POCA we can employ Accredited Financial Investigators (AFI’s) to undertake specified activities;

1. Apply for applications for restraint under POCA Part 2
2. Apply for and exercise warrants of search and seizure in relation to financial investigations
3.Undertake financial investigations for the purpose of confiscation

“We can employ Accredited Financial Investigators (AFI’s) who will be trained and accredited by the National Crime Agency.

“Funds recovered via confiscation will be used to fund AFI’s and financial investigations and support our initiatives to benefit the Private Security Industry.

“Change to Senior Appropriate Officers for financial investigations
“In relation to confiscation and restraint proceedings, an AFI will be required to obtain authorisation from the SIA Senior Appropriate Officer (SAO). This is defined under S68 and S378 of POCA and presently is placed at the grade of Deputy Director.

“A change is proposed in the authorisation level for financial investigation enquiries from Deputy Director to Investigations Manager. The present grade is sufficiently removed from operational dealings making decisions impractical. It is envisaged the change in level will allow a quicker and more informed decision making process. This will also bring us into line with other POCA Designated Bodies.

“Responses to this change by 19 February
“We would welcome your views and seek approval to carry out the proposed changes. Responses are encouraged from private security industry operators or other organisations with an interest in our work.

“Please send an email entitled ‘POCA Consultation’ to: stakeholder@sia.gsi.gov.uk

“What will happen next?
“We will consider any responses until 19 February 2016 and share with the Home Office, prior to any drafting of an order relating to POCA, for consideration by Parliament”.

SIA Website


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