Forfeiture of certain personal (or moveable) property

Part of Criminal Finances Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:00 pm ar 17 Tachwedd 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 2:00, 17 Tachwedd 2016

If memory serves me right, the Gambling Commission has the power to carry out a range of investigations and to impose conditions on bookmakers. I hear the hon. Lady’s point loud and clear. I have the same concern in my part of the world in the north-west about whether bookmakers are properly regulated and carrying out their obligation to report suspicious bets, as they currently do under the law. That is more a question of whether we are doing enough to enforce the law. Existing laws are quite strong, though some bookies’ shops—I suspect, as she does—have a way to go. If criminals know that we can seize their FOBT print-outs, they might be less likely to stick their money in the FOBT in the first place. We have put provisions in the Bill because they are pretty canny. When POCA came in in 2002, they realised that we could seize cash, so off they went. They are pretty good at moving the cash. No doubt, one day we will be back again, maybe saying that they have used telephone cards or whatever, and we will have to adapt the legislation in time.

The Government’s amendment chooses to put the provision into POCA, as opposed to the route chosen by the Scottish Nationalist party, because we believe that these items are better placed in cash provisions, because they have no real use other than to be turned into cash. The listed items of moveable property have an intrinsic use as well as being a store of value, and they need to be dealt with under the provisions that we have introduced into the Bill.

The listed items of moveable property clause also contains detailed provision about dealing with non-severable property and competing joint-owner claims that are not relevant to gambling vouchers. As I said, we are considering this as part of the Treasury’s review of regulation under the change to the fourth anti-money laundering directive when it comes to self-reporting of suspicious activity and fixed odds betting. That is under review by the Treasury as well, so I hope everyone will get their collar felt if they do not comply with one directive or another.

I hope hon. Members will agree that that would achieve the results they were after and, accordingly, I invite them to withdraw their amendment.