British law agency gains enhanced crypto seizure powers

The UK government has enacted enhanced powers for the National Crime Agency and police to seize and freeze crypto used by criminals.

The British National Crime Agency (NCA) will no longer be required to make an arrest before seizing crypto from a suspect, as the new powers enable enhanced measures to combat crypto-related crime.


According to an official statement on Apr. 26, the U.K. government has updated proceeds of crime and terror legislation, facilitating more effective investigation, seizure, and recovery of illicit crypto by law enforcement agencies, marking a significant shift in the country’s approach to tackling illicit activities involving crypto.

The changes include allowing police to seize crypto without an arrest, enabling the seizure of items aiding investigations, and transferring illicit crypto into a controlled digital wallet inaccessible to criminals. Additionally, law enforcement officials can now seize “items that could be used to give information to help an investigation, such as written passwords or memory sticks.”

“These reforms will also enhance our national security. Terrorist organisations like Daesh are known to raise funds through crypto transactions and these updated powers will enable our agencies to more easily strip them of their assets.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly 

The NCA says organized criminals, including drug dealers, fraudsters, and terrorists, increasingly employ crypto to launder illicit proceeds and raise funds, estimating that illicit crypto transactions linked to the U.K. reached at least £1.2 billion (~$1.5 billion at the current rate) in 2021.

With the latest update, the British law agency says it wants to stop criminals from “undermining the legitimate use of crypto,” while also supporting the development of crypto as a potential driver of economic growth.

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