Over £1.5m of recovered criminal cash returned to our communities (2 Dec 2016)

8Over £1.5m of money recovered from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act has now been returned to West Yorkshire communities under the Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson's Safer Communities Fund.

40 projects received a share of £167,355.47 at an awards evening held at Batley High School yesterday evening for the latest round of the fund which had a crime prevention theme.

The Safer Communities Fund launched in February 2014 and is now in its ninth round. A total of £1,532,632.42 has so far been returned to the communities it came from, and a couple of West Yorkshire Projects were recently featured on the BBC's Ill Gotten Gains series http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0842jgq.

The Fund was created to support voluntary and community groups, charities and partners to make their communities safer and feel safer. Grants are awarded in line with the priorities set out in the Police and Crime Plan and so far over 340 groups from across West Yorkshire have benefitted.

The fund is financed through money recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) which allows police and prosecutors to seize assets which criminals gained through vicarious means.

Mark Burns-Williamson said: "I was delighted to be able to award the latest grants from the Safer Communities Fund. Over £1.5million of recovered money has now been given to groups looking to support victims, reduce and prevent crime, tackle anti-social behaviour and safeguard vulnerable people.

7

"It's truly heartening to see what a difference relatively small amounts of money can make in our communities across West Yorkshire and I am continually impressed by the amount of worthy causes and organisations applying who are making a huge difference.

"A heartfelt thank you to our police service and prosecutors who doing a fantastic job of ensuring crime doesn't pay. Without their hard work recovering this money from criminals, the fund wouldn't exist."

"I would ask groups to think of what good a grant of up to £5000 could do in their community and spread the word about the Safer Communities Fund as far as possible in helping to keep West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe."

Dee Collins, West Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable said: "The Safer Communities Fund is an excellent initiative which takes money away from criminals and gives it back to the very communities they have harmed.

"It is an initiative I very much support and am delighted to be attending the awards ceremony to see for myself how the ill-gotten gains of criminals have been put to good use.

"I would also encourage any organisation in West Yorkshire that feels they meet the necessary criteria to apply for a grant."

The next round of the fund opens for applications on 12 December with £140,000 available for good causes. To find out more about the fund, including how to apply visit /safer-communities-fund.aspx.

2

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2017