Every penny seized from criminals should be reinvested into local communities, says Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Tony Lloyd is backing a campaign launched by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson calling for police forces across England and Wales to be allowed to keep all the money they generate from seizing money and assets from criminals, to help fund local policing and community safety initiatives.
At the moment police and prosecutors have to give more than half the money raised under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to central Government.
Tony said: “The ill-gotten gains of criminals should not belong to the state, but to the victims, witnesses and others who have suffered because of their criminality. These individuals have caused misery in our communities so it’s only right and proper that every single penny goes back to those communities from where it came – not into Government coffers.”
Greater Manchester Police has seized almost £7m in assets from criminals under POCA over the last 12 months. Just over £1.2m has been given back to the police as part of the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS), the process used to allocate proceeds gained from POCA.
A portion of criminal gains have been reinvested back into the community to support worthy projects. For example, in March GMP spent £100,000 of criminals’ money on the Lionheart Challenge, a project involving thousands of schoolchildren from 30 schools across Greater Manchester to help break down the barriers between children and police. Funding is also granted for community projects across Greater Manchester.
“This money is already being put to positive use in Greater Manchester, to help tackle crime, support victims and build safer communities,” adds Tony.
“Allowing the police to keep all the cash seized from criminals would mean we could do much more good work in our communities. That’s why I’m calling on the people of Greater Manchester to join me in backing this campaign and signing the petition.”
The more people that sign the petition, the more chance there is of triggering a debate in parliament.