There isn\’t any other possible description of this: it\’s out and out robbery by the Government:
Police will be able to seize high-value assets from suspected drug dealers as soon as they are arrested under plans to be unveiled this week by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.
Law-enforcement agencies will be able to take cars, televisions, laptops and expensive jewellery belonging to big-time offenders. Such assets can currently only be seized at the end of a criminal process, by which time drug dealers have often disposed of them.
The reason that we have a criminal process is because we rather like to find out whether people are in fact guilty of being drug dealers, rather than just suspected. Taking their belongings purely upon suspicion is theft, pure and simple.
I\’m ghasted and flabbered that such a thing is even being considered: it\’s bad enough now that confiscation happens under the civil (and thus the less onerous burdens or proof) law rather than criminal, but to seize purely upon charging?