Did you know that half of all money and assets taken from criminals in West Yorkshire goes to the Treasury?
Do you think it would be better kept here in Leeds, in West Yorkshire, to be spent on the prevention of crime?
Mark Burns-Williamson does.
When he stood as Labour’s candidate for Police Commissioner, Mark promised in his election manifesto to fight to bring POCA money back to West Yorkshire
‘At present only a small proportion of the millions of pounds gained from criminals through the Proceeds of Crime Act actually comes back to West Yorkshire Police. If elected I’ll fight for our Police to get 100% of that money.’
True to his word, on 19 June he wrote to George Osborne, calling on the Chancellor to use his Spending Review to return in full the money and assets seized under the Proceeds of crime Act to reinvest in local communities.
‘The ill-gotten gains from criminals who profit from causing serious harm to our communities should not be seen to belong to the state, but as the rightful property of all those victims, witnesses and others affected by criminality.’
Mark believes it should all be ploughed back into local areas to be used to tackle the causes and consequences of crime and to target criminals.
And 85% of people agree with him. When he conducted his first ‘Listening to You’ survey across West Yorkshire, that was the percentage who supported this idea.
Needless to say, George Osborne wasn’t listening.
But Mark is still pursuing his campaign.
Last week he visited a project in Bradford which shows just what can be done with even small amounts of this money. The Vine Youth Centre at St Mary’s Church in Laisterdyke, Bradford, is one of many projects across West Yorkshire to have benefited from money seized from criminals through the West Yorkshire Police Community Trust; receiving more than £3,000 in the last four years to fund after school clubs for children, train teenagers in life skills and help fund an elderly day care project with Bradford Academy.
Think what could be done if we could recover all the proceeds of crime.
You can get a poster here.
And why not spread news of the campaign on Twitter – #giveusthemoney – or Facebook
– or just email your friends with this message.
Mark said: “In these times of cuts to our public services it is even more important we get the full share of the money back to keep people safe, and feeling safer.
As my petition illustrates, I am a firm believer that all of the money seized from criminals in West Yorkshire should be invested in improving communities here.”
Just another example of Labour government in action at local level.