The range of powers available to investigators under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) is extensive. While there is some overlap with powers available for other investigations, the fact that a case involves one of the issues with which POCA is concerned makes a significant difference to what investigators can do.
An increasing number of people are finding themselves on the receiving end of summary forfeiture proceedings in the magistrates’ court, a system that is designed to be simple and efficient from the point of view of law enforcement, but which carries significant risks for the owners of the property at stake.
For many people who receive or are served with a Crown Court Restraint Order, this will be the first time they have had anything to do with the criminal justice system. In some circumstances it will follow swiftly on from an arrest and/or the execution of a search warrant of their home or business premises, and may have been accompanied by the seizure of cash or property. In others it will simply come alone and without warning, complete with a penal notice to warn the recipient of dire consequences of any failure to comply.
Banks in the UK are very heavily regulated, and this can sometimes have a severe impact on individual or business customers. In particular, banks are increasingly deciding to close and/or block accounts without giving reasons, and this can sometimes result in long delays before the customer can access their funds.