• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

MSP voices fears cash seized from criminals will 'top up' police budgets

Concerns have been raised that money seized from criminals will be used to "top up" the budgets of the police and Crown Office, rather than go back into communities.

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson said an apparent change in policy in relation to seized assets could see Police Scotland and the Crown Office working to maximise their own receipts, rather than those that go into the "common good".

Mr Pearson raised the issue during a Scottish Parliament debate on the Cashback scheme, which sees money recovered from criminals spent on initiatives to benefit communities.

Referring to money obtained from criminals, he said: "Some of that funding is to be allocated to Police Scotland, and wherever possible the receipts are to be allocated to operational policing activity within local communities and for maximising future recoveries in line with the principles agreed at the serious organised task force meeting held on February 10.

"The problem is we can't get access to the minute of that meeting and know what those principles were.

"What I do know is the Scottish Police Authority acknowledges inclusion of estimates of anticipated receipts for 2014/15 and 2015/16.

"So, some of the assets recovered won't be going back directly to communities, they will be used to supplement the work of the police and prosecution authorities."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said that since its launch the Cashback programme has provided more than 1.5 million opportunities for young people in areas such as sport and the arts, with more than £74 million recovered from criminals being poured into the scheme. He said an independent report highlighted the programme was delivering a "significant impact".

He said: "Cashback not only gives young people something enjoyable and positive to do, but it helps reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by diverting the small minority who cause trouble away from such behaviour.

"Every young person in Scotland ... should get the opportunity to benefit from Cashback."

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell said: "Although good work is most certainly being done, more could be done to disrupt crime, and in the process collect more money."

Ms Mitchell called for more analysis to be done to identify and follow up on crimes where the Proceeds Of Crime Act 2002 could be implemented to maximise the money seized.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

240014