Making criminals pay: How community projects benefit from confiscated cash
Main article content
Money seized from criminals by Essex Police is being used to support community projects and charity organisations that help thousands of people across the county.
The Essex Community Foundation provides grants to charities and voluntary organisations and have a relationship with Essex Police dating back almost a decade.
In that time, they have received more than £650,000 confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
In the past two years, the force has seized £3.7m of cash and assets from those involved in crimes including drug dealing and fraud.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Home Office show that £1.6billion has been recovered in criminal assets in the past six years, including nearly £340 million in the last 12 months.
Projects that POCA money has been used to support in Essex include:
The CARA Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse funding a Young Persons Practitioner to work with victims of sexual violence and child sexual abuse.
Changing Lives’ delivery of sports coaching and employability workshops to help disadvantaged young people from Harlow and Colchester.
Safe Steps’ creation of a consultation room for families seeking refuge in Southend.
UTurn4Support sessions in Clacton, Frinton and Walton aimed at deterring anti-social behaviour, exploitation and criminality among young people.
Kool Carers South East providing safety sessions for young carers in Basildon and Brentwood.
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said:
“By confiscating the proceeds of criminal activity, we are severely limiting the ability of organised crime groups to operate, and hitting individuals - whose motivation is greed and personal gain - where it hurts them most.
“It’s fantastic that a significant portion of money we retrieve goes to helping people through the Essex Community Foundation.
“Whether it’s supporting victims of crime, getting children and young people into sport, or giving families a safe place to stay, I’ve seen the extraordinary work the beneficiaries do.
“Criminals damage communities and exploit the vulnerable, and my officers are working tirelessly every day to arrest offenders and to dismantle the networks behind them. Redistributing illegally acquired earnings to good causes redresses that harm and proves that crime doesn’t pay.”
Mr Harrington added:
"We have been amazed by the ongoing success of the POCA Scheme with ECF and the generosity of those who have set up funds. "Essex Police is committed to supporting local charities and voluntary groups in making our county a better and safer place to live. "Through the POCA Scheme and by working with ECF we are pleased that criminals’ assets are being turned into something positive and are helping our communities to tackle crime in Essex and support those who are affected by it."
Sign up to Dispatch today
We're offering even more ways of keeping up-to-date with our work across Essex through our weekly e-newsletter, called Dispatch.
Dispatch provides our communities with a weekly overview of news from Essex Police, along with crime prevention advice, information about our latest job vacancies, top tweets from our a selection of our Twitter accounts and lots more.
Dispatch is a digital newsletter which means once you sign up, it's sent directly to your email inbox. It's completely free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Sign up today and stay up-to-date with how our officers, staff and volunteers are helping people across Essex, keeping you safe and catching criminals.