Criminal Finances Act 2017 (see related blog) makes changes to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA).

The Home Office and Office of Attorney General have issued a consultation on the codes of practice that govern the use of some of the powers in those Acts. There are 6 separate codes on which views are sought. They cover:

  • powers to search seize and detain property
  • exercising investigation powers under POCA
  • the use of search powers for recovering criminal cash
  • powers to seize certain listed assets
  • guidance for prosecutors on the operation of POCA investigation powers
  • the exercise of various new seizure, detention and forfeiture powers created by the Criminal Finances Act 2017

The consultation paper confirms that the Codes of Practice “closely parallel” the provisions in other Codes and earlier versions of the same Code and states that “familiarisation with the text of the Code in the financial investigation community will not be an onerous exercise”. The consultation paper emphasises that comment is invited on the guidance on the exercise of the powers, rather than the actual powers themselves. It asks whether the Codes provide adequate guidance to officers on how to discharge their responsibilities and how organisations will be affected by the changes.

The closing date for comments is 25 August 2017. The codes will then be subject to parliamentary approval before coming into force.