JUSTICE Minister David Ford has allocated £564,000 to projects aimed at tackling crime and the fear of crime.
Groups around Down will receive substantial support to follow through on a wide variety of projects.
The money comes from assets seized from criminals. It will fund a number of projects including programmes to reduce anti-social behaviour, to help older people feel safer and to support victims of domestic violence. It will also support initiatives to prevent rural crime and to educate young people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
David Ford said: “Assets gained through crime should not remain in the hands of organised criminal gangs who have abused communities and do not care about the impact of their actions. I praise the work of law enforcement agencies and the Public Prosecution Service in removing this money, which otherwise could put drugs on our streets or support human trafficking.
“I am pleased to see such money being reinvested into communities and to people working on the ground to make Northern Ireland safer.
“£564,000 has been directed to a broad range of projects. From supporting victims of domestic violence, to providing diversionary activities for young people and helping to make older people feel safer in their homes, each of the projects have the common aim of making Northern Ireland a safer place for everyone.”
Outlining a few of the projects funded this year, the Minister said: ” I had the privilege of seeing the Cage Soccer initiative in action at Parliament Buildings last year. It is an excellent youth diversionary project. This year’s Asset Recovery Community Scheme helped the initiative grow into a spectacular tournament on Benone Beach on 9 March.
David Ford said: “Northern Ireland’s Community Safety Strategy recognises the importance of intergenerational approaches to building safer, shared and confident communities and research has shown the approach can be a cornerstone in reducing crime and the fear of crime.
A list of the projects who benefited from this year’s Asset Recovery Community Scheme is available on the DOJ website at http://www.dojni.gov.uk/
Recovering criminal assets is an important focus of the Organised Crime Task Force’s work. Previously the Home Office retained 50% of all criminal assets recovered but following devolution, Justice Minister David Ford negotiated this money for Northern Ireland. The other 50% continues to be distributed to agencies responsible for the recovery of the assets.
Groups in Down benefitting were:
Down Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) : Safer Surfers – £16,700.
Newry and Mourne PCSP: £21,400.
North Down PCSP: Youth Initiative Programme – £10,000.
South Eastern HSC Trust: Bad Romance – £1600.