ASSETS seized from criminals are being offered to Staffordshire community groups to boost neighbourhood safety.
Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, is inviting groups to apply for grants of between £3,000 and £15,000 from the Commissioner’s Proceeds of Crime Fund. The cash is seized from criminals by Staffordshire Police, who put back 100 per cent of the money back into local communities.
There will also be smaller grants of between £100 and £3,000 available through the Commissioner’s People Power Fund, which aims to help groups find solutions to community safety problems.
Projects could range from activities for young people to supporting people facing issues around hate crimes. Groups have until April 14 to apply for grants through Stafford Borough Council.
The council’s Community Safety Partnership is getting £96,000 of its own through the Locality Deal Fund for 2014/15, to help tackle the root causes of crime through early intervention, support victims and witnesses better, reduce reoffending and increase public confidence.
It is the first time the PCC has had responsibility for community safety funding. Previously the cash would have come from the Government to Staffordshire County Council.
Mr Ellis said: “It’s time to trust local areas to deliver what’s right for local people. That’s what I’ve committed to do and that’s what I’m doing.
“I have significantly increased the funding that Stafford Borough and other local areas have to make their communities safer. Providing more money at a local level in this way will help deliver the best community safety solutions for people in Stafford and Stone.
“What’s more, this funding is guaranteed until 2016 rather than on a 12-month basis which gives a greater chance for continuity instead of having to plan ‘exit strategies’ at the outset.”
The Locality Deal Fund is the largest part of £2.5 million of Commissioner’s Community Funding for 2014/15.
Stafford Borough Council leader Mike Heenan said: "Providing a safer community for our residents, businesses and visitors is one of this council's top priorities.
“It is the people in our community who tell us what the issues are that they want to see tackled which is why we will be using this money to deliver initiatives that address the need.
“We will be working closely with our partners such as the police, to ensure everyone living, working and visiting Stafford Borough feels safer."