News from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire

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PUTTING 100% OF MONEY SEIZED FROM CRIMINALS BACK INTO COMMUNITIES

One hundred per cent of assets seized from criminals are being reinvested in ideas to make local communities safer using the Commissioner’s Proceeds of Crime Fund.

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis changed the rules in 2013 so that all funding received by Staffordshire Police from proceeds of crime seizures goes back to local projects which help make communities safer.

The Proceeds of Crime Fund is supporting projects in conjunction with local policing teams and local authorities. It is made up of assets and money seized by Staffordshire Police from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Almost 100 local projects have received Proceeds of Crime Funding in the last three years. These have include initiatives to prevent sexual exploitation, divert young people from anti-social behaviour and tackle hate crime, domestic abuse, business crime and cyber bullying.

The Commissioner’s Proceeds of Crime Funding is again available in 2016/17, through grants of between £3,000 and £15,000. The latest application window is open now until 14 April.

Mr Ellis said:

“I changed the way things were done in Staffordshire in 2013 to make sure that every bit of funding received from the proceeds of crime goes to fund community safety.

“Criminals take from law-abiding people, police take the ill-gotten gains from criminals and it all ends up back in communities, benefiting law-abiding people. What goes around comes around!

“I’ve seen first-hand across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent how this money is being spent at a local level to tackle the root causes of crime, prevent offending, support victims and help make communities safer.”

Bids for funding from the PCC’s Proceeds of Crime Fund have to demonstrate a clear connection with reducing crime and fit into one of the Commissioner’s four priority areas: intervening early, putting victims first, preventing offender and re-offending, and improving public confidence. Partner agencies involved in community safety locally can apply individually or in collaboration.

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PCC MEETS YOUNG PEOPLE AT PRINCE’S TRUST EVENT

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire has met with young people who have benefitted from life-changing work he has funded.

Matthew Ellis recently visited The Prince’s Trust Centre in Stoke-on-Trent to meet a group of young people who are being helped by programmes set up by the Prince’s Trust.

The funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner has included extensive support work with more than 120 vulnerable young people from across the County to help them improve skills to find work and enter training or employment.

The Prince’s Trust offers support for young people via two core programmes, Fairbridge and Get Started. The Fairbridge programme provides group activities and opportunities to get one-to-one support to help young people build confidence and develop key skills. A residential trip takes place at the beginning of each course before individuals sign up to workshops in areas such as photography, finance, technology and cooking.

Get Started courses are designed to inspire young people and encourage them to move forward in their lives. Each individual is given additional support once the programme finishes to help them move into long-term employment. Courses include Get Started with Football, ran in partnership with Stoke City FC.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis said,

“As well as helping some of our most vulnerable young people, our partnership with The Prince’s Trust has a positive effect on the wider society. Investing in young people and giving them the skills they need to find work helps to reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour and strengthens community links, including breaking down barriers between disadvantaged young people and the police.

“Early intervention is one of my key priorities as evidence shows that the best way of preventing crime and having a positive impact on community wellbeing, quality of life and safety is to stop problems from arising in the first place.”

Paul Beesley, Deputy Director for The Prince’s Trust in Central England with Matthew Ellis
Paul Beesley, Deputy Director for The Prince’s Trust in Central England with Matthew Ellis

Paul Beesley, Deputy Director for The Prince’s Trust in Central England, said:

“Our partnership with Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner will enable us to provide even more local, unemployed young people with the skills, confidence and motivation they need to secure work. We are grateful for their support.”

PCC Matthew Ellis with the cast of Love Hurts
PCC Matthew Ellis with the cast of Love Hurts

COMMUNITY PROJECT FUNDED TO TEACH YOUNG PEOPLE THE SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP

A Stoke-on-Trent project to tackle abusive relationships between teenagers has been supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Proceeds of Crime Fund.

The Proceeds of Crime Fund is made up of assets and money seized from criminals in Staffordshire. This funding has allowed the “Boys to Men” domestic abuse project to engage with young people about issues which are becoming more common in their age range.

The Boys to Men project, which was awarded £15,000, have produced a play called “Love Hurts” which challenges current ideas regarding abusive relationships between young people who are 13-19 years-old.

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The play was created following direct work with young people to explore attitudes towards relationships. A group of teenagers were also recorded whilst talking about their experiences and these recordings were used to allow young people to anonymously share their experiences of positive and negative relationships.

The play, which toured around local schools and youth clubs over a 4-week period, identifies how young people would like to be supported and how they would like parents, teachers and other professionals to talk to them about these issues.

After the play interactive workshops were held to explore the issues raised in the play.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire Matthew Ellis recently launched the project in Newcastle-under-Lyme and also attended a performance of the Love Hurts play at the Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre in Bentilee alongside community members, local professionals and youth club members.

Mr Ellis said:

“I was incredibly moved by the Love Hurts play I watched at Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre. It was extremely powerful to see the issues young people now face acted out in front of me. The performance allows young people to open up and generated discussions on what is considered appropriate in a relationship and I am thrilled I have been able to help this worthwhile organisation.

“I am determined that 100 per cent of funding that comes back to Staffordshire Police from proceeds of crime seizures is going directly to local communities.”