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The Account Freezing Order Team, consisting of 10 staff in total 6 officers 4 support staff was created in September 2021 and has grown from strength to strength in recent months.
The team was created with the sole purpose of tackling organised crime and recovering funds for victims of crime.
Since April this year, the team have successfully forfeited £4,804,739 in criminal funds as well as recovering an additional £2,302,963 which has been successfully returned to victims, the money of which was suspected of being taken in fraud offences.
Echoing the success of Operation Falcon, our dedicated operation to disrupt cash based money laundering, Greater Manchester Police have launched Operation Nest-egg which is our dedicated operation to identifying illegal funds in criminal bank accounts, adding another tool to strip assets from criminals.
The recovered funds forfeited are reinvested back into the community through initiatives through the Asset Recovery Incentive Scheme (ARIS). The funds have been used to fund a range of projects and has recently seen just over £70,000 to go to Fitton Hill Bulldogs (FHB) Community Sport Centre in Oldham. The funding will be used to purchase an additional disability hoist within the clubhouse building, complete pitch drainage of 1 full size rugby pitch and 1 full size football pitch, to support pavilion refurbishments and strengthen external security provisions at the site.
Just over £50,000 is going to Oldham Mountain Rescue Team, a voluntary organisation who are available 24/7 to provide professional rescue services, the money will be used to pay for a new van and life-saving equipment.
Through ARIS, over 50,000 pounds will be funnelled into the GetAwayNGetSafe (GANGS) project, just one of many community led programmes which will benefit from the recent forfeitures. The project delivers early intervention aimed at young people to challenge attitudes towards gang culture, knife carrying and social responsibility. ARIS funding was successfully granted in 2021 to pilot the initiative across 20 schools in Moss Side, Wythenshawe and Longsight and due to its successes, the funding is being used to roll this out across further areas.
Detective Sergeant Ben Miller from the Account Freezing Order Team said: “These community projects are only a handful of the incentives that the money goes towards. We continue to endeavour to take money from the hands of criminals and instead fund community projects that benefit the public and the community.
“We will not allow Greater Manchester to be a safe haven for illicit funds and will continue to crackdown on criminals who believe that they can reap the benefits of their criminality. We will ensure that they are stripped of their finances by using all powers that are available to us under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
Temporary Detective Superintendent Joseph Harrop, the lead for Operation Nest-egg said: "Our Economic and Cyber Crime Section are dedicated to disrupting organised crime and dismantling networks involved in financial crime.
The work we do can often take months of investigation before we reach a point where we are able to forfeit criminal proceeds. It is important that this work is highlighted to show members of the public that our team continue to work diligently behind the scenes to successfully part criminals from their cash. We are then able to redistribute this money back into the community so people across Greater Manchester can benefit from forfeited money through local initiatives.
“If you see, or suspect something is wrong, tell us, and we can sort it."
Anyone with concerns or information about suspicious financial activity, should report to police online, if able, at www.gmp.police.uk or via 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.
Details can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
We are currently recruiting for police officers to join GMP to pursue an exciting and varied career. If you think this could be for you, visit: Careers | Greater Manchester Police (gmp.police.uk)