Police launch campaign to use criminals’ proceeds for good

With car seized from a criminal under POCA - Detective Sergeant Dave Edwards and Detective Inspector Ian Wills. (s)
With car seized from a criminal under POCA - Detective Sergeant Dave Edwards and Detective Inspector Ian Wills. (s)

North Yorkshire Police is launched the 2012 Why should they? campaign this week with another £25,000 of criminals’ cash up for grabs.

This is the third year in a row that the force has made the cash available to local good causes, having seized it from crooks who have made money from their crimes.

Up until October 31, non-profit making organisations, charities, volunteer and community groups whose work makes a positive contribution to reducing crime or anti-social behaviour can apply for up to £3,000 from the fund.

The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) allows the police to take money and assets from criminals such as drug dealers, fraudsters and thieves if they have gained them as result of their criminal activity.

Over the last two financial years, North Yorkshire Police’s Financial Investigation Unit seized more than £2.3m from criminals under POCA. Some of this money is returned to North Yorkshire Police and other criminal justice partners, and it is by using some of this cash that the Why should they? campaign can help local communities.

Temporary Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: “Over the past two years North Yorkshire Police has donated £49,000 to 28 local good causes and we are very pleased to be able offer another £25,000 this year, especially in these financially strained times.

“Since we launched the campaign in 2010, it has brought us into contact with lots of people who are helping to make life better for local communities. From sports clubs to rescue teams, from craft workshops to support for disadvantaged people, it has been a very humbling experience to see all this fantastic work going on and I hope we can help many more this year.”

Detective Inspector Ian Wills, who heads the force’s Financial Investigation Unit, added: “It gives us immense satisfaction to see some of the cash we have taken off the criminal fraternity, go back into our communities. Especially when it is helping to improve the quality of life for local people.

“Our aim is to hit criminals where it hurts the most – their pocket. And we will continue to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to pursue them relentlessly through the courts.”

The project or group must contribute to reducing crime and/or anti-social behaviour and you will need to demonstrate how your organisation helps to reduce crime or anti-social behaviour.

For details of how to apply for this year’s funding and details of previous winners, log on to www.northyorkshire.police.uk/whyshouldthey

Or call 01609 789197 for an application form. Or write to: Why should they?, The Financial Investigation Unit, North Yorkshire Police Headquarters, Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, DL7 9HA. The closing date is 31 October 2012

If you suspect anyone of living off the proceeds of crime, please tell the police by calling 101. Or if you prefer, you can pass information on anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.