§ Mr. Jenkins
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the performance of courts enforcing confiscation and money laundering laws. 
§ Mr. Boateng
The third report of the Home Office Working Group on Confiscation, published on 10 November, identifies significant weaknesses in the enforcement of confiscation orders, including a number relating to the roles of the courts. The Working Group makes recommendations for improving performance in this
Table 1: Drug trafficking confiscation orders (England and Wales) 1992–1996 Year Amount ordered to be confiscated Downward variation on appeal Default sentences(DTOA 1986)1 Amount available for confiscation Amount remitted to consolidated fund 1992 9,129,863 2500,000 1,271,000 37,358,863 5,180,900 1993 9,678,118 594,000 579,000 8,505,118 5,380,000 1994 425,373,426 489,000 2,537,000 422,347,426 5,135,000 1995 18,337,490 1,201,000 848,000 16,288,490 5,343,000 1996 10,471,336 1,643,000 1,342,000 7,486,336 7,415,000 Total 72,990,233 4,427,000 6,577,000 61,986,233 28,453,900 1 Default sentences served under the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 served to expunge the debt owned by the defendant 2 Estimate—no figures available for 1992 3 Estimate based on 2 4 Includes one confiscation order made by Chelmsford Crown Court for £15,314,000
£ Table 2: Proceeds of criminal conduct—confiscation orders made under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the 1988 Act as amended by the Proceeds of Crime Act 1995 (England and Wales) 1992–1996 Year Amount ordered to be confiscated Downward variation on appeal Default sentences(unamended CJA)1 Amount available for confiscation Amount remitted to consolidated fund 1992 1,354,000 2— 1,000 1,353,000 481,600 1993 412,000 44,000 156,000 212,000 266,000 1994 3,042,000 17,000 471,000 2,554,000 1,318,559 1995 3,653,000 355,000 513,000 2,785,000 1,024,000 1996 6,070,000 217,000 82,000 5,771,000 1,343,000 Total 14,531,000 633,000 1,223,000 12,675,000 4,433,159 1Default sentences served under the unamended CJA 1988 served to expunge the debt owed by the defendant 2No figures available
area, and for remedying perceived gaps in the money laundering legislation. The Government have announced a consultation period until the end of February, and will take account of the responses received before making decisions on the report's proposals.
§ Mr. Jenkins
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the involvement of the police in enforcing current confiscation and money laundering laws; and if he will estimate the cost to each police force in 1997–98 of this activity. 
§ Mr. Boateng
The police have a specific role under the confiscation legislation in conducting asset tracing investigations, and under the money laundering legislation in receiving reports of suspicious transactions from financial institutions and other sources. Suspicious transaction reports are normally made to the Economic Crime Unit at the National Criminal Intelligence Service, while every police force in England and Wales has a Financial Investigation Unit, responsible for identifying assets for confiscation and investigating suspected money laundering. Information on the cost of this activity to individual forces is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, the costs borne by the police and other relevant authorities in implementing confiscation powers will be one of the factors to be included in the study which the Government plan to initiate of the possibility of establishing a confiscation agency.