New figures show West Yorkshire Police more than doubled the amount of money raised through seizing criminals’ ill-gotten gains last year – netting £12.3 million, including £1.8 million from villains in Bradford.
Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act show West Yorkshire Police has increased the amount of cash it has secured through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) every year since 2007, and last year doubled the amount taken from convicted criminals, from £5.6 million in 2010-11 to £12.3 million in 2011-12.
Police also revealed the two Bradford police divisions, Bradford South and Airedale and North Bradford, recovered a combined total of £1,831,876 between April 2011 and April 2012.
Officers last night hailed a campaign, which urges people to contact police if they suspect someone is living off the proceeds of crime.
Acting Detective Sergeant Tim O’Keeffe, from the Bradford South POCA Team, said: “We need members of the public to give us information if they see people living beyond their means so we can investigate.
“We want to get rid of negative role models. There are young children growing up thinking the only way they can make vast amounts of money and drive a flashy car is to get involved in drugs and launder the cash.”
POCA was introduced in 2003 to give officers the power to confiscate assets and cash from individuals who have benefited from crime, with much of the money ploughed back into policing and neighbourhood projects.
Earlier this year, £3,000 of computer equipment was given to the Rockwell Centre, in Eccleshill, for training courses, £2,500 to Shipley Primary School for citizenship lessons and £2,085 to Bradford People First, which went towards learning disability hate crime training.
Other groups to benefit from the cash include St Wilfrid’s Parish Church in Lidget Green to revitalise a remembrance garden, Hand in Hand, which tackles child exploitation and the Bingley Youth Cafe.
Anyone who suspects someone is living off the proceeds of crime should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111.