The Proceeds of Crime (POC) Branch is responsible for policy development, program planning, program monitoring and resource allocation in support of the RCMP’s efforts to separate criminals from the profits of their crimes. The Branch develops and publishes related RCMP policy, identifies areas of legislative weakness and recommends statute amendments through Canada’s Department of Justice and evaluates the Proceeds of Crime program.
Illicit profits undermine the social and economic well-being of Canadians and increase the power and influence of organized criminals and their illegal enterprises. The POC program focuses on identifying, assessing, seizing, restraining and dealing with the forfeiture of illicit wealth accumulated through criminal activities. Much of this wealth is linked to profits derived from Canada’s illicit drug trade, but proceeds from other crimes, such as frauds and cigarette smuggling, are also involved.
The POC program actively pursues investigations related to money that’s been laundered by means of Criminal Code offences. The program accumulates financial intelligence on selected organized crime figures with the aim of seizing their unreported wealth. Dedicated, integrated resources are assigned to turn information into intelligence that can be used by front-line investigators. Responding to requests for investigative assistance from foreign and domestic police agencies is also a major priority, as is fostering international cooperation on money-laundering investigations.
Members in the field and at the policy centre in Ottawa are tasked with educating their local, national and international partners and clients, as well as the general public, in order to identify and prevent money laundering.
The RCMP relies primarily on the Criminal Code’s Proceeds of Crime provisions to take illicit wealth away from criminals. Other federal statutes, such as the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) & Terrorist Financing Act and the Controlled Drugs & Substances Act, also play a significant role in meeting enforcement objectives.
Most sections of the POC program work as part of the Integrated Proceeds of Crime (IPOC) units, which bring together the skills, knowledge, and abilities of diverse groups of experts. These groups include the RCMP, provincial and municipal investigators, lawyers from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC), forensic accountants from Public Works and Government Services Canada, tax investigators from the Canada Revenue Agency, and Customs officers from Canada Border Services Agency. Since 1997, the IPOC initiative has helped to pioneer the RCMP’s integrated policing philosophy. The United Nations, the U.K., Australia and others have studied the initiative to learn from its successes.