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Commissioner’s Response to the Home Office Consultation – Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS)

21st October 2014

Vera Baird QC response to the request for views on the current Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS) 

Q1. Please give an overview of how the ARIS funding you have received over the last year has been used.

Incentivisation funding within Northumbria is ‘fed-back’ into the mainstream policing budget.

The monies contribute towards revenue expenditure incurred by the Forces dedicated financial investigation section; this includes the costs of the 12FTE establishment (£0.5m), training, premises and transport expenditure.

In recent years receipts from ARIS are as follows: (Financial years, not Home Office reporting years)

2012/13 £443.3k
2013/14 £437.3k
2014/15 £164.4k (YTD)

The Force income budget for incentivisation in 2014/15 is £0.4m.

Q2. How does the current ARIS process contribute to your efforts to tackle criminal finances?

The ARIS process allows the force to maintain a policing response to financial investigation matters only.

Q3. Could the scheme be altered to better incentivise asset recovery and crime reduction?

As identified by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire last year when he ran a campaign to ensure that the ill-gotten gains recovered from criminals who profit from causing serious harm to communities across the country should not be seen to belong to the state but as the rightful property of all those victims, witnesses and others affected by criminality.

The ARIS concept could be significantly improved if forces were allocated all of the proceeds they generate through forfeiture proceedings and a larger proportion of the share of those proceeds acquired from confiscation hearings.

The extra capital generated could then fed-back into funding arrangements that could be targeted directly towards ‘local’ crime fighting priorities against ‘cash rich’ criminals and OCG’s.

Additionally, where communities have been adversely affected by crime in their own area, some of the extra funding could be used to generate/sustain community projects; thus improving community cohesion/confidence, demonstrating that ‘crime does not pay’ and reducing the likelihood of  ‘cash rich’ criminals becoming negative role models to the local youth population.

It would be appropriate to allocate the funding through the ARIS scheme rather than core budgets as the evidence to local communities of the funding coming back to the area may incentivise local communities to take a stance against organised crime, but perhaps more importantly it will increase their confidence in local policing and how they deal with serious and organised crime. .

Q4. Could the scheme be altered to better incentivise the objectives of the Criminal Finances Improvement Plan?

There are potential opportunities to be achieved by the setting of clearer policy and direction, by the Home Office, as to the use of incentivisation monies. However, any such direction MUST include the flexibility to allow use of additional funding towards local initiatives; determined in consultation with local communities and in direct consideration of their needs and expectations.