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Public get more say in how money seized from criminals is spent

12 May 2009

People will be able to choose how £4m seized from criminals will be spent in their area.

The money will be available for local projects, and hose it is spent will be decided by communities via websites, neighbourhood policing meetings or citizens’ panels.

The plans were announced as part of the government’s updated crime strategy – Cutting Crime: Two years on. The strategy gives communities more say in how justice is done in their neighbourhoods. It will also improve the way police, probation and local authorities fight crimes including burglary, robbery and car theft.

The strategy will:

  • put £3m towards Operation Vigilance - a pilot scheme that targets known offenders and helps police find the best method of catching and prosecuting them
  • give police more powers to seize the assets of criminals
  • introduce more intensive community payback schemes over the coming year.

Virtual courts

The strategy also introduces the first ‘virtual court’ pilot, where cases can be heard in court via a secure video link from the police station within four hours of a defendant being charged. If found guilty, they could be sentenced on the same day. This could save £10m per year by freeing up police and the courts’ time, as well as improving the service for victims and witnesses.

Community payback

Community payback provides local people with an opportunity to decide how people who have committed a crime should make amends for the harm they have caused. The work is often hard and demanding. The updated strategy ensures that more offenders will be given this work. 

'We will keep taking action'

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, ‘We are now facing tougher economic times and I am determined, when people are feeling less secure financially, we will do everything in our power to protect their safety and security.’
‘That is why we're publishing an updated crime strategy to address those new challenges and to show the army of police and partners across the country that we keep listening and taking action.’

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