POLICE Commissioner Kim McGuinness has called on neighbourhood groups and community projects to bid for funds from her ‘Operation Payback’, the funding pot were criminals’ cash is handed back to good causes.

The aim is to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, which will ultimately improve lives for those living in neighbourhoods across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, particularly some of the more disadvantaged areas.

Grass root projects and community causes can bid from today (November 1) for a share of the £130,000 pot of funding by telling the Commissioner of local needs and ideas that will help prevent crime and support the work of Northumbria Police.

Kim says she wants to ensure that the cash criminals have taken from communities in the Northumbria Police Force area is put back into projects and initiatives that make a difference to the places that need it most.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “This is what we all want to see – cash seized from criminals in the North East being put back where it belongs – into the grass roots of local communities.

“I want to see this money end up in the right hands – the volunteers, the doers, those who know the needs of their community and are doing things that make a real, positive difference to local lives. It’s about empowering local groups to find solutions that work in their community.”

This all ties in with the aim of preventing others going down a path that leads to a life of crime, and in turn preventing there being more victims of crime.

The funding initiative will offer micro grants of up to £1,000 or larger grants of up to £5,000, and so the hunt is on for stand-out projects that have a really positive impact at a local level, particularly those struggling with poverty and those areas affected by high crime rates.

Kim continues: “The best way we can help our police is by helping prevent crime in the first place, rather than leaving them to pick up the pieces. I want as many people as possible to know about this opportunity – it’s a chance to make good things happen in your area – to really empower those behind a worthwhile project.”

In the years to come the fund will be topped up with money seized from criminal activity under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Applications are welcome from communities, charity, social enterprise or voluntary groups from within the Northumbria Police force area that strive make their community a better place and focus on the PCC’s  Police and Crime Plan priorities such as tackling ASB.

Successful applications will demonstrate how a project will help combat the impact of crime, reduce crime and provide diversionary activities. For more information, full criteria and terms and conditions please visit the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner’s website.

Since becoming Police and Crime Commissioner in 2019, Kim has awarded over £985,000 in grants to community causes across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.

Applications close Friday 3rd December. The Commissioner will announce final decisions W/C 10th January, 2022. Operation Payback funding will be open for applications twice a year. Anyone requiring further information should contact enquiries@northumbria-pcc.gov.uk.