Crooks' cash given to community projects
THE results of an innovative new scheme, aimed at giving the people of Devon and Cornwall a say in how �4 million of recovered criminal assets should be spent to benefit their community, has been announced by the Local Criminal Justice Board of Devon and
THE results of an innovative new scheme, aimed at giving the people of Devon and Cornwall a say in how �4 million of recovered criminal assets should be spent to benefit their community, has been announced by the Local Criminal Justice Board of Devon and Cornwall.
Community Cashback is a national scheme launched by the Government where 'cashback' from criminals' seized assets, such as confiscated cash or property, has been earmarked to fund worthwhile community projects. Suitable projects were made available to the public to 'Have Your Say' and vote for the best.
The initiative attracted huge interest in Devon and Cornwall with 108 projects submitted and 98 projects being made available to the public for voting. The total value of the projects submitted was �1,728,000 and 4,318 votes made for the projects. From this, the Devon and Cornwall Local Criminal Justice Board shortlisted 7 projects, which were successfully granted funding.
Successful bids needed to show how the local community was involved in suggesting the project, demonstrate good value for money and be related in some way to tackling antisocial or criminal behaviour locally.
Boxing, dancing, horticulture, CCTV, community speed cameras and theatre projects were chosen for their ability to reduce crime levels in the community via youth education, community engagement and rehabilitation.
The Devon and Cornwall Criminal Justice Board was allocated the maximum of �95,000 from the �4million national fund. This was the same as every Local Criminal Justice Board area regardless of geographic size, population size and other factors.
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Tracy Easton, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Devon and Cornwall and Chair of the Devon and Cornwall LCJB said: "It is hugely exciting and interesting to see community engagement on this scale around crime reduction and constructive use of the proceeds of crime. We have been blown away by the creativity and commitment of the people of Devon and Cornwall to improving safety and quality of life in the region.'
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: "It is only right that criminals are made to payback for their crimes. The Community Cashback fund ensures some of their ill gotten gains are ploughed back into local communities. Seizing assets deprives criminals of money, reduces the incentive for crime and promotes fairness and confidence in the criminal justice system. I'm glad so many people have got involved either by putting forward plans to improve their neighbourhoods or voting for their favourite project."
Justice Minister Maria Eagle said: "The Community Cashback scheme is just one way of providing communities with a stronger voice and better access to shaping the criminal justice system, and follows up on other successful initiatives including Community Payback, Community Prosecutors and restorative justice programmes. All of this aims to ensure that justice is not only done, but seen to be done."
The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland QC, said: "What better way could there be to send a clear message that crime does not pay than for victims and witnesses, and young people especially, to see a tangible improvement in their communities? To put in place something they have asked for, paid for with money recovered from criminals, is a visual reminder of the millions that is clawed back from criminals in our courts.