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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cash seized from criminals will help community groups

 
* From left, Winston Roddick, Police & Crime Commissioner,
with Richard Debicki, Assistant Chief Constable, and David Evans, the P.A.C.T project manager.
 

A new scheme is being launched to hit villains and help community groups across North Wales.
 
Money seized from criminals will be used to create a pot of money available to organisations which help tackle anti-social behaviour and combat crime and disorder.
 
Following a successful trial last year, the scheme is being set up by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC, North Wales Police and the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT).
 
A total of £42,000 will be up for grabs - with £3,000 apiece for two groups in each county and £6,000 available for a group that operates across North Wales.
 
The Your Community, Your Choice initiative - otherwise known as the Participatory Budgeting Scheme - is being partly funded by the money recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash confiscated from offenders with the rest coming from the Police Commissioner.
 
Community groups are being urged to apply between September 8 and October 10 using a form on the websites of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner and North Wales Police.
 
A shortlist of applicants will be chosen by a special panel and from November 1 members of the public will decide which groups to support with a vote via the two websites and a dedicated email address.
 
Mr Roddick said: "This scheme is vitally important. It’s a first class scheme which brings the police and the community closer together.
 
"It gives an opportunity for the community to decide how they would like to see the funds we’ve extracted from criminals spent in their community.
 
"It also sends a very good message that crime does not pay and the ill-gotten gains of criminals are going back into the the communities from which the money was taken.
 
"This is an opportunity to provide support for some fantastic community organisations in every part of North Wales.
 
"We are inviting the groups to make their applications and explain, if they are successful, how they would spend the money.
 
"What they do will contribute to the Police and Crime Plan to reduce crime and disorder in the area and that is a really positive thing.
 
"Our aim is to make North Wales an even safer place to live, work and visit."
 
Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki was equally enthusiastic.
 
He said: “I think the value of a scheme like this is it allows members of the public and local organisations right in the heart of communities to bid into a fund and to be part of the solutions to crime and disorder in their area.
 
"The money is from the Police Commissioner’s fund as well as money which has been seized, and assets confiscated from the proceeds of crime.
 
"It's absolutely right and proper that the money taken out of the hands of criminals is put back into the community.
 
"The pilot last year was very successful and we are very happy to be a partner of the Police and Crime Commissioner in this initiative."
 
"This initiative should help to give the local community a great deal of confidence that the Police and the Commissioner are listening to their concerns.
 
"This is about the local community and local organisations working together and working with the police to put things in place at a local level in order to tackle the issues which matter to the public most.
 
PACT manager Dave Evans explained "The fund will be open for application by email using a standard application form that will be available on both the PCC’s website and North Wales Police’s website.
 
"We had some particularly high quality applications from the pilot round of the fund last year.
 
"Among the projects to benefit last year were the Llandudno Good Citizenship scheme, the Barmouth CCTV scheme and the Wrexham Street Pastors.
 
"This pre-notification period will hopefully give community groups the opportunity to develop their applications.
 
“Applicants have to be a properly constituted community group or a registered charity and the main criterion is that the project in question helps to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
 
“It gives us the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of community groups and also importantly gives our local neighbourhood policing teams the opportunity to engage with those groups and support them with those projects that they want to run.
 
"I would highly recommend that applicants considering putting in a bid liaise with their local neighbourhood policing team to discuss their bid and make sure that it is as comprehensive as possible."
 
The opening date is September 8 and completed applications must be returned via email to participatorybudgetfund@nthwales.pnn.police.uk by the closing date at 5pm on October 10. For more information ring 01745 588516.

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