Police have put freeze orders on property valued at more than $425 million in the past 12 years, but only $62 million worth of goods has been confiscated after court cases have finished.

The figures were released yesterday, a week after officers seized more than $500,000 found in a car they stopped in Perth.

Freeze orders can be put on property such as houses, land, vehicles, cash, boats and jewellery if police suspect they were acquired with money obtained illegally or the owner faces a serious drugs charge.

If the owner is convicted or cannot prove the items were obtained legally, the property is surrendered to the State and sold.

The proceeds then go into government coffers.

Police have put freeze orders on property worth $425,643,949 since the confiscation laws were introduced in 2000, including $32 million this year.

Last month alone, police froze real estate valued at more than $6 million, vehicles worth more than $221,000, about $318,000 in cash and bank accounts holding more than $444,000.

Director of Public Prosecutions figures show property worth $62 million has been confiscated in the 12 years, including $7.52 million taken in the 2010-11 financial year.

There can be a difference between the value of property seized and the proceeds obtained because legitimate outstanding debts are settled and people with a legitimate interest must get their share.

For example, if five people owned a property, the State could confiscate 20 per cent of its value once outstanding debts, such as mortgages, were paid out.

Proceeds of crime Det-Sen. Sgt Les Evans said WA was recognised as having some of the most powerful property confiscation laws in Australia.

"Police consider that the State's ability to confiscate the proceeds of crime and property used in crime is an effective means of disrupting and dismantling criminal activity," Det-Sen. Sgt Evans said.

The laws aim to deter people from committing crimes to obtain a benefit, prevent crime by diminishing the financial capacity of offenders and "remedy the unjust enrichment of criminals who profit at society's expense".

The West Australian

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