In a foreword to the report, the prime minister said: ‘By the recommendations in this report, we shall help turn the tide against criminals. We will enhance confidence in the law by demonstrating that nobody is beyond its reach. We will make it easier for courts to recover the proceeds of crime from convicted criminals. And we will return to society the assets that have been unlawfully taken.’
The English ICA broadly supported the new measures, but warned that the system could become overloaded if a clear distinction is not drawn between major and minor crime. Both the accounting profession and the wider business community could consequently suffer increased burdens, warned the Institute.
In particular, the Institute criticised the report’s proposal that all indictable crimes should be reported to the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS). This would greatly increase costs for NCIS on cases that local police would be unlikely to follow up.
The Institute also called for clear and practical definitions to ensure consistency in reporting practices. It cited the definition of money laundering as an example, where the law currently puts spending very small proceeds in a local shop in the same class as organised crime.
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