Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 12:36 UK

Criminal assets to fund projects

A police officer and car
In the past recovered assets was split between frontline services

Communities in Kent are set to benefit from millions of pounds of seized criminal assets for the first time.

Community Cashback, a multi-million pound fund, has been set up to spend on projects nominated by the public.

Successful bids will have to demonstrate good value for money and be related in some way to tackling anti-social or criminal behaviour locally.

The Kent Criminal Justice Board will be able to submit project proposals for funding up to £95,000.

Until now money recovered from criminals has been split between frontline services, such as the police and government departments involved with the criminal justice system.

It gives me great pleasure to hand over the ill-gotten gains of criminals
Alan Johnson

Figures show that £23.6m was recovered between January and April 2009 with a total £7m shared between all police forces in England and Wales.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: "It gives me great pleasure to hand over the ill-gotten gains of criminals to pay for community projects that matter most in people's neighbourhoods.

"The Community Cashback fund will help to make a real difference to people's lives up and down the country - whether it's installing security measures in a block of flats, restoring a vandalised play area or helping launch a youth club."

The Home Office's Asset Recovery Incentive Scheme will see 50% of the money recovered to be repaid to agencies including the police, courts, Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Organised Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.

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