NIO proceeds of crime should be given back to the community
Sinn Féin MLA and member of the Culture, Art’s and Leisure Committee Raymond McCartney has stated that monies received through the proceeds of crime by the NIO should be distributed to communities who are affected by crime in the form of aid and assistance to sporting, arts and community groups.
Speaking following today’s committee meeting Mr McCartney said:
“Proceeds of crime are currently held by the NIO and distributed through agencies such as the PPS or the Courts Service. There is however a new approach being taken by the Culture, Arts and Leisure committee who will be calling for such proceeds to be distributed to arts and sporting groups in the communities who are worst affected by crime.
“This is the model that is currently being applied in Scotland to great effect and community support. In Scotland a substantial amount of money from criminal assets and proceeds is channelled back into sporting projects for example the Scottish FA have received over £2 million to upgrade football facilities.
“In England and Wales the Community Cashback scheme has seen millions distributed also.
“Within the North there could be as much as £7million that could be utilised in order to assist communities and improve facilities for the arts and leisure.
“The emerging view on the committee is that these are better models improving the capacity of communities while also incentivising people in tackling crime.
“However as we are currently pressing the NIO to enact such a scheme it could be substantially streamlined following the devolution of Policing and Justice powers as it would then be the gift of locally elected representatives to determine where this money would go.”