Community groups across North Wales are being urged to bid for a pot of money seized from criminals in a move described as “poetic justice” by a crime tsar.
Up for grabs is a total of £42,000 for the successful organisations who pledge to run projects to tackle anti-social behaviour and combat crime and disorder.
Two groups from each of the region’s six counties will receive £3,000 apiece and £6,000 is available for a group that operates across North Wales.
The winning candidates will be chosen by a public vote later this year.
The ‘Your Community, Your Choice’ scheme has been launched by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC and Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki in partnership with the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT).
It is being jointly funded by money recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash confiscated from offenders, and the Commissioner’s Fund.
Community groups are being urged to apply between September 1 and 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.
Commissioner Roddick said: “It’s an outstanding idea. Not only does it go to worthy causes but it has the sound of justice all around it.
“This is poetic justice at work because we’re confiscating the ill-gotten gains of villains and redistributing the money where it’s needed.
“It will be used by groups and organisations, all of whom will be doing something to combat crime and disorder or anti-social behaviour and that is very appropriate.
“The money is going where it’s going to make a difference in reducing crime and in improving the quality of the communities which suffer the crime.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Assistant Chief Constable Debicki.
He said: “It is a very good thing for community groups to be able to access pots of money in order to be able to reduce crime and disorder within their communities and improve the quality of life for the community in their area.
“It sends a really positive message that money taken from the pockets of criminals is being recycled. This is turning bad money into good money that’s being used for a constructive purpose.
“We really value our relationships with the public and we recognise that we can’t reduce crime and disorder on our own. It’s a partnership and a joint effort with other agencies but absolutely crucial and critically is the public themselves.
“The public often are the ones who know what the things are that will work best in their area and for them to be able to bid into a pot of money is a really positive thing.”
According to PACT chairman David Williams, it was also a very democratic process because the public will be able to decide who gets the money.
Mr Williams said: “One of the real pluses of the scheme is that ultimately it’s the public who has the voice and who will say which projects will go forward and are worthy of this important money.
“And very appropriately, one of the conditions is that the people who apply for this money have to be doing something that combats anti-social behaviour or addresses crime and disorder in some way.
“The aims Your Community, Your Choice scheme also coincide with the objectives of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan so it creates a virtuous circle.”
The opening date is September 1 and 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
Here’s where the money went last year:
Anglesey (£3,000 each) – Bodedern Friends, sports training for children aged five-18, and Frindiau Parc Rhosybol, new play area.
Conwy (£3,000 each) – Llanfairfechan Town FC, community facility at football ground, and Llandudno Neighbourhood Watch Drop-in Centre, crime prevention initiative.
Denbighshire (£3,000 each) – Prestatyn and Meliden Community Action Group, activities for young teens and pensioners, and Dragon Riders, Rhyl, community bike riding project.
Flintshire (£3,000 each) – WEA Cymru in partnership with Clwyd Alyn Supported Living Project, art focused workshops for young people, and Groundwork North Wales, volunteering and learning opportunities for young people.
Gwynedd (£,3000 each) – Welsh Institute of Therapeutic Horsemanship, horse-based therapy for disadvantaged young people, and Gisa Mentro Mlaen Project, Caernarfon, independent living for vulnerable people.
Wrexham (£3,000 each) – Caia Park Partnership, outdoor pursuits courses for young people, and The Warehouse Project, help for young homeless people.
Pan-North Wales project (£6,000) – Dangerpoint, Talacre, Flintshire, education and life skills for young people.