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West Midlands Police Federation

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Fed chair backs petition for POCA funds to be used in support of officers

9 April 2024

West Midlands Police Federation chair Rich Cooke has endorsed a campaign for an allocation of funds seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act to go towards the support of officers living with injuries and conditions sustained in policing.

A petition has recently been launched to propose the introduction of a policy that would see organisations providing care to affected officers, both active and retired, receive an annual portion of money recovered from assets obtained through criminal activity.

“This movement has been steadily growing for over a month now and that is really encouraging,” said Rich. “It could end up being a huge financial boost for organisations who help staff suffering from the long-term consequences of police demands.”

The Act, passed in 2002, recovered £339.1 million of assets through Confiscation, Forfeiture and Civil Recovery Orders in the financial year 2022 to 2023. This figure is down only 5 per cent on 2021 to 2022, the highest year on record for proceeds of crime recovered, and still reflects the overall rising trend in asset recovery over the last six years.

While acknowledging that funds generated can be used to good effect, such as for further asset recovery, victim compensation, and local anti-crime initiatives, Rich believes the people who go out into the field to face such crime are often too much of an afterthought.

West Midlands Police Federation chair Rich Cooke.

“I feel it’s imperative for the welfare of police officers past and present that they begin to feel the benefit of these funds more directly. We act as the first line of defence against the criminal activity from which this money has been recovered.”

Beneficiaries of the campaign’s success would include Police Care UK, who have appealed for more financial aid in their efforts to support the welfare, recovery and wellbeing of current and ex-staff who are injured or living with disability and mental health issues as a result of their roles in the Force.

Rich continued: “There is probably not enough public recognition of the legacy crime can leave behind on police staff, both physically and psychologically.

“Thankfully, these brilliant causes do recognise it but at the moment, they are not being supported properly.”

The petition, which was rolled out at the end of February, has now passed 4500 signatures on the Official UK Parliament website, and Rich believes Federation members should add their own.

“I believe it is in the interest of every member to get behind this campaign. Our commitment as officers can come at a cost – the least we deserve is the best possible support if that cost needs covering.”

Members can sign and learn more about the petition by visiting its official page here.

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