Regional Economic Crime Unit West Midlands (RECUWM)
RECU conduct regionally money laundering (ML) investigations targeting Organised Crime Groups presenting criminal threat as detailed in the Regional Control Strategy, with particular emphasis on Economic Crime. They assist Senior Investigating Officers in the development of financial intelligence and increasingly evidence, and offer alternative enforcement strategies utilising tools derived from the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and the Criminal Finances Act.
£2.97 million seized as part of Operation Venetic
The RECU Teams
ROCU WM’s economic directorate has three teams who investigate financial crime, fraud and remove assets from criminals.
The Financial Investigation Team (FIT)
FIT (formerly RART) provides a multi-agency response to Serious and Organised Crime (SOC), using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and associated legislation to recover criminal assets and disrupt or remove threat and risk by financial investigation. With partner agencies FIT undertakes cross-jurisdiction asset recovery and money laundering investigations.
Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE)
ACE enforce unpaid POCA confiscation orders. ACE provide financial investigation capability and resources, working with specialist CPS and HMCTS staff, to ensure payment of outstanding monies and activation of default sentences. ACE undertake pro-active work, revisiting previous confiscation orders as a strand of Lifetime Offender Management (LOM), offering a very effective disruption tactic for tackling organised criminality.
The Regional Financial Disruption Team
The Regional Financial Disruption Team (formerly Regional Fraud Team) have refocussed to more dynamically exploit financial vulnerabilities of those involved in SOC through the new legislation available to them. Resources are deployed and prioritised efficiently and effectively against the fraud threats. This team is supported by the new Regional Fraud Development Officer. Their role is to improve the national policing response to fraud. To ensure the region operates as a counter fraud community to prioritise and tackle high harm fraud threats. Working so people and organisations are prevented from being victims of fraud, and all victims are supported.
Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme funds generated by RECU WM are disbursed to the regional forces
The ARIS divides assets recovered from the POCA between operational agencies and Home Office. The police element of the operational agency share ranges from 18.75% (confiscation) to 50% (cash forfeiture) of recovered funds, depending upon which part of POCA was applied.
In the 3 years to April 2020, £41,063,591 was recovered from criminals across the region by RECUWM as a result of POCA confiscation enforcement, and subject to disbursement within the ARIS as above. The last 2 years in particular have seen noticeable growth in confiscation enforcement performance with receipts up by a third . FIT contributed £7,017,538 to this performance equating to 17% of total ARIS receipts across the region. This data is now presented quarterly at ROCU Executive Board.
FIT also contribute to ARIS returns across the region through POCA cash forfeiture activity with a total of £1,305,955 realised in the 3 years to April 2020.