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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

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Changes over time for: Cross Heading: Seizure and detention

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[F1Seizure and detentionU.K.

Textual Amendments

F1Pt. 5 Ch. 3A inserted (27.4.2017 for specified purposes, 31.10.2017 for the insertion of ss. 303G, 303H for E.W.S. so far as not already in force, 30.1.2018 for the insertion of s. 303E(4) for E.W.S. so far as not already in force, 16.4.2018 for E.W.S. in so far as not already in force) by Criminal Finances Act 2017 (c. 22), ss. 15, 58(1)(6); S.I. 2017/991, reg. 2(d); S.I. 2018/78, regs. 2(a), 4(b)

303JSeizure of listed assetsU.K.

(1)A relevant officer may seize any item of property if the relevant officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that—

(a)it is a listed asset,

(b)it is recoverable property or intended by any person for use in unlawful conduct, and

(c)the value of it is not less than the minimum value.

(2)A relevant officer may also seize any item of property if—

(a)the relevant officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting the item to be a listed asset,

(b)the relevant officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that part of the item is recoverable property or intended by any person for use in unlawful conduct,

(c)the relevant officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the value of the part to which the suspicion relates is not less than the minimum value, and

(d)it is not reasonably practicable to seize only that part.

(3)Where the powers conferred by this section are being exercised by a relevant officer in respect of more than one item of property, this section is to apply as if the value of each item was equal to the aggregate value of all of those items.

(4)The references in subsection (3) to the value of an item are to be read as including references to the value of part of an item where the power conferred by subsection (2) is being exercised (whether alone or in conjunction with the power conferred by subsection (1)).

(5)This section does not authorise the seizure by an SFO officer or an accredited financial investigator of an item of property found in Scotland.

303KInitial detention of seized propertyU.K.

(1)Property seized under section 303J may be detained for an initial period of 6 hours.

(2)Property seized under section 303J may be detained beyond the initial period of 6 hours only if its continued detention is authorised by a senior officer.

(3)If the continued detention of property seized under section 303J is authorised under subsection (2), the property may be detained for a further period of 42 hours.

(4)Subsections (1) to (3) authorise the detention of property only for so long as a relevant officer continues to have reasonable grounds for suspicion in relation to that property as described in section 303J(1) or (2) (as the case may be).

(5)In calculating a period of hours for the purposes of this section, no account shall be taken of—

(a)any Saturday or Sunday,

(b)Christmas Day,

(c)Good Friday,

(d)any day that is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in the part of the United Kingdom within which the property is seized, or

(e)any day prescribed under section 8(2) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 as a court holiday in a sheriff court in the sheriff court district within which the property is seized.

(6)“Senior officer” has the same meaning in this section as it has in section 303E.

303LFurther detention of seized propertyU.K.

(1)The period for which property seized under section 303J, or any part of that property, may be detained may be extended by an order made—

(a)in England and Wales or Northern Ireland, by a magistrates' court;

(b)in Scotland, by the sheriff.

(2)An order under subsection (1) may not authorise the detention of any property—

(a)beyond the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the date of the order, and

(b)in the case of any further order under this section, beyond the end of the period of 2 years beginning with the date of the first order.

(3)A justice of the peace may also exercise the power of a magistrates' court to make the first order under subsection (1) extending a particular period of detention.

(4)An application for an order under subsection (1) may be made—

(a)in relation to England and Wales and Northern Ireland, by a person specified in subsection (5);

(b)in relation to Scotland, by the Scottish Ministers in connection with their functions under section 303O or by a procurator fiscal.

(5)The persons referred to in subsection (4)(a) are—

(a)the Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs,

(b)a constable,

(c)an SFO officer, or

(d)an accredited financial investigator who falls within a description specified in an order made for the purposes of this Chapter by the Secretary of State [F2or the Welsh Ministers] under section 453.

(6)The court, sheriff or justice may make the order if satisfied, in relation to the item of property to be further detained, that—

(a)it is a listed asset,

(b)the value of it is not less than the minimum value, and

(c)condition 1 or condition 2 is met.

(7)Subsection (6)(b) does not apply where the application is for a second or subsequent order under this section.

(8)Condition 1 is that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the property is recoverable property and that either—

(a)its continued detention is justified while its derivation is further investigated or consideration is given to bringing (in the United Kingdom or elsewhere) proceedings against any person for an offence with which the property is connected, or

(b)proceedings against any person for an offence with which the property is connected have been started and have not been concluded.

(9)Condition 2 is that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the property is intended to be used in unlawful conduct and that either—

(a)its continued detention is justified while its intended use is further investigated or consideration is given to bringing (in the United Kingdom or elsewhere) proceedings against any person for an offence with which the property is connected, or

(b)proceedings against any person for an offence with which the property is connected have been started and have not been concluded.

(10)Where an application for an order under subsection (1) relates to an item of property seized under section 303J(2), the court, sheriff or justice may make the order if satisfied that—

(a)the item of property is a listed asset,

(b)condition 1 or 2 is met in respect of part of the item,

(c)the value of that part is not less than the minimum value, and

(d)it is not reasonably practicable to detain only that part.

(11)Subsection (10)(c) does not apply where the application is for a second or subsequent order under this section.

(12)Where an application for an order under subsection (1) is made in respect of two or more items of property that were seized at the same time and by the same person, this section is to apply as if the value of each item was equal to the aggregate value of all of those items.

(13)The references in subsection (12) to the value of an item are to be read as including references to the value of part of an item where subsection (10) applies in relation to one or more of the items in respect of which the application under subsection (1) is made.

(14)An order under subsection (1) must provide for notice to be given to persons affected by it.

Textual Amendments

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

303MTesting and safekeeping of property seized under section 303JU.K.

(1)A relevant officer may carry out (or arrange for the carrying out of) tests on any item of property seized under section 303J for the purpose of establishing whether it is a listed asset.

(2)A relevant officer must arrange for any item of property seized under section 303J to be safely stored throughout the period during which it is detained under this Chapter.

303NRelease of detained propertyU.K.

(1)This section applies while any property is detained under section 303K or 303L.

(2)A magistrates' court or (in Scotland) the sheriff may direct the release of the whole or any part of the property if the following condition is met.

(3)The condition is that the court or sheriff is satisfied, on an application by the person from whom the property was seized, that the conditions in section 303K or 303L (as the case may be) for the detention of the property are no longer met in relation to the property to be released.

(4)A relevant officer or (in Scotland) a procurator fiscal may, after notifying the magistrates' court, sheriff or justice under whose order property is being detained, release the whole or any part of it if satisfied that the detention of the property to be released is no longer justified.]

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