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STOP ISSUING SEARCH AND SEIZURE WARRANTS UNDER THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002

Comment 5th July 2010

Currently someone who is merely suspected of a crime, without any evidence or complaint   and occupiers of  adjacent  named  properties in the same building  can have their homes  searched and the police can  seize every item single of value and every document.    This  includes, passports, driver licences, family photographs, legal documents , jewellery, watches,  money from  purses and  wallets, vehicle registrations certificates, MOT certificates,  medical details, personal letters, business letters,  all keys, cheque books, credit cards, mobile phones, computers, computer equipment, data sticks, medication, empty files, antiques,  in fact everything except clothes (legally they must not take excluded material  or material subject to legal privilege but this rule is generally ignored)   Warrants under the Proceeds of Crime Act  can be issued to ‘the Occupant’.

To illustrate please  imagine everything you have in your home. Now imagine returning home and finding everything of value and every document has been seized and all you have left is a Warrant issued under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 left on your kitchen table. .  How would you feel?

Then you discover that your neighbour in the flat upstairs is ‘suspected’ of being involved in a crime. This means that if you want your property back you must pay for a solicitor to pursue your claim but with little prospect of getting your valuables returned until the investigation of your neighbour is completed.   How would you feel?

 The police already have enough power to search and seize property relating to a crime they do not need the wide ranging powers given by the search and seizure warrant under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to seize  everything in the property  of the suspect and the  occupants of   adjacent properties .

Why does this matter?

 

This will stop what is manifestly unjust and punishes suspects and their families before charge, if any,  and punishes entirely innocent people who live close by. 

 

The police already have enough power to search and seize property relating to a crime they do not need the wide ranging powers given by the search and seizure warrant under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to seize  everything in the property  of the suspect and the  occupants of   adjacent properties .

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