Time is running out for community groups in North Wales to bid for a share of a £42,000 pot of money seized from criminals.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC is urging organisations which help tackle anti-social behaviour and combat crime and disorder to get their application in before the deadline on October 2.
The scheme has been set up by Mr Roddick, North Wales Police and the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT).
Two groups from each county stand to receive £3,000 apiece while £6,000 is available for a group that operates across North Wales.
The Your Community, Your Choice initiative – otherwise known as the Participatory Budgeting Scheme – is being partly funded by the money recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash confiscated from offenders with the rest coming from Mr Roddick.
Community groups are being urged to apply before the closing date on October 2. Application packs can be found on the websites of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner and North Wales Police.
A shortlist of applicants will be chosen by a special panel and from November 1 members of the public will decide which groups to support with a vote via the two websites and a dedicated email address.
Voting will then take place between October 26 and November 27.
Mr Roddick said: “Last year we had bids from across North Wales from all sorts of interesting groups doing great things in their local communities and I’m hoping for an even greater response this year.
“I would urge organisations to get their bids in now to make sure that they do not to miss out on this opportunity to hit criminals where it hurts most, their pockets.”
“It’s a first class scheme which brings the police and the community closer together.
“It gives an opportunity for the community to decide how they would like to see the funds we’ve extracted from criminals spent in their community.
“It also sends a very good message that crime does not pay and the ill-gotten gains of criminals are going back into the communities from which the money was taken.
“This is an opportunity to provide support for some fantastic community organisations in every part of North Wales.
“We are inviting the groups to make their applications and explain, if they are successful, how they would spend the money.
“What they do will contribute to the Police and Crime Plan to reduce crime and disorder in the area and that is a really positive thing.
“Our aim is to make North Wales an even safer place to live, work and visit.”
Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki was equally enthusiastic.
He said: “I think the value of a scheme like this is it allows members of the public and local organisations right in the heart of communities to bid into a fund and to be part of the solutions to crime and disorder in their area.
“The money is from the Police Commissioner’s fund as well as money which has been seized, and assets confiscated from the proceeds of crime.
“It’s absolutely right and proper that the money taken out of the hands of criminals is put back into the community.
“We are very happy to be a partner of the Police and Crime Commissioner in this initiative.”
“This initiative should help to give the local community a great deal of confidence that the Police and the Commissioner are listening to their concerns.
“This is about the local community and local organisations working together and working with the police to put things in place at a local level in order to tackle the issues which matter to the public most.
PACT manager Dave Evans explained “The fund will be open for application by email using a standard application form that will be available on both the PCC’s website and North Wales Police’s website.
“We have had some particularly high quality applications in the last couple of years and we are looking for a similar quality this time.
“Applicants have to be a properly constituted community group or a registered charity and the main criterion is that the project in question helps to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
“It gives us the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of community groups and also importantly gives our local neighbourhood policing teams the opportunity to engage with those groups and support them with those projects that they want to run.
“I would highly recommend that applicants considering putting in a bid liaise with their local neighbourhood policing team to discuss their bid and make sure that it is as comprehensive as possible.”
Completed applications must be returned via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by the closing date on October 2. For more information ring 01745 588516 or go to www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk or www.north-wales.police.uk