Cash forfeited by criminals will be used to help make Derbyshire safer, says a crime chief.
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles today announced a new fund which will see the cash illegally generated by criminals reinvested into community projects.
Commissioner Charles has set aside £120,000 from the income derived by criminal acts in 2013/14, as part of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) - on top of the £250,000 he will invest in grassroots crime reduction projects as part of his Crime Prevention Fund in 2015-16.
The new NICE (Neighbourhoods Investing Criminal Earnings) Fund will be open to any organisation based in Derbyshire or Derby who can deliver a community capital project which will leave a lasting legacy for communities
Bids of up to £40,000 are invited funding will be limited to three projects - one project per policing area to achieve geographical coverage.
Examples of such projects could be facilities such as an outdoor gym, play equipment, seating or a community classroom.
All applications must provide clear evidence of need for the project together with evidence of support for the project from the local community. Applications must also provide examples of proposed community involvement in the delivery or maintenance of the project.
Announcing the NICE Fund, Commissioner Charles said: “Our POCA officers work very hard to ensure that crime doesn’t pay in Derbyshire and I’m delighted that through their tenacity and commitment we are able to reinvest the ill-gotten gains of criminals in the County into making our communities safer.
The Commissioner added: “Offenders should never be allowed to profit from their criminal activities and it is only right and just that we pursue them to recover their illegal gains and redistribute this money into pressing areas of crime prevention.”
The Proceeds of Crime Act strikes at the heart of organised crime, providing police officers with the powers to seize cash and recover the valuable assets that have been bought by criminals through their illegal profits including property, cars and jewellery.
POCA investigations can be complex and lengthy, involving a host of experts from specialist police officers and criminal lawyers to tax investigators. Any income retrieved from criminals is split between the Home Office and the different agencies involved in recovering the money.
Commissioner Charles is inviting local organisations to submit an initial bid for funding as rt of the NICE scheme by 1st May 2015. Successful applicants will be announced in July.
Organisations interested in applying or finding out more about the funding should visit http://www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk/Home.aspx