Communities across Merseyside are set to benefit from funding from Merseyside Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner, using money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
In June, Merseyside Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner launched the Community Cashback Fund, inviting grassroots organisations and community groups across Merseyside to apply for a share of £100,000 from the fund to further develop existing projects or start new ones that focus on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, diversion away from criminal gangs, and promoting diversity, equality and inclusion.
The Community Cashback Fund is one of several initiatives that take place throughout the year to enable Merseyside Police to reinvest some of the money seized from criminals back into local communities to help provide vital resources and fund community projects across Merseyside. It is aimed at strengthening community resilience by supporting local clubs and groups, which in turn helps to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, promote diversionary activities, and support vulnerable members of the community.
Serious and organised crime poses a significant threat to our communities. Merseyside Police is committed to pursuing these criminals with the full force of the law and ensuring that the proceeds of their crimes are spent improving the communities they have brought misery to.
The successful initiatives in Wirral are:
Utopia Project CIC – Based in Rock Ferry, the funding will be used to provide personal development activities for young people who are at risk of becoming involved in criminality.
Wirral Development Trust – Based in Leasowe, the Trust will provide a weekly safe space for local teenagers, expanding their provision to two nights a week. Food and refreshments will be provided along with a variety of activities.
The Carrbridge Centre – Based in Woodchurch, the youth club currently runs four times a week and the funding will be used to provide an additional session. The club provides the only social facility on the estate offering parent and toddler groups, community trips, emergency food, welfare support and much more.
Tomorrow’s Women Wirral – The funds will be used to establish a mobile outreach initiative to engage with sex workers on the street at night. The van will have support resources such as sexual health care, needle exchange, information, refreshments, and a referral service.
Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said, “Our work to stop criminals is ongoing and relentless. It’s fantastic to see the number of community initiatives that will benefit from money, seized from criminals, under the Proceeds of Crime Act. It pays dividends when the money, seized by the force through positive and proactive work, can be shared with worthy causes that benefit the communities who are often blighted by crime.
“The vast majority of young people want to do something positive with their time, which will give them life skills, free from the exploitation of criminals. Our Community Cashback Fund has allowed us to use criminals’ ill-gotten gains to fund schemes that help them do just that right across Merseyside, from community centres and boxing clubs, to counselling services, mentoring and peer support.”
“Each and every one of the initiatives that have benefited from this money are thoroughly deserving and will put it to very good use. I am confident their positive impact will be felt for a long time and I look forward to hearing how they progress in the months and years to come.”
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell said, “I’m excited to announce the successful bids for our Community Cashback Fund, taking cash out of the pockets of criminals and putting it back where it belongs – into grassroots communities across Merseyside.
“Our region benefits from brilliant community organisations which are working hard to make their areas safer and stronger. We want to give our young people better opportunities and what better way than taking money from the criminal gangs who try to exploit our communities and giving it back to local people.
“From boxing to apprenticeships and youth work to crime awareness programmes, there are a fantastic range of projects benefiting from the funding and I can’t wait to see the impact this has in our communities for the months and years to come.”