Cash from criminals could benefit Lichfield community projects

The Community Cashback website

The Community Cashback website

Communities in Lichfield could benefit from ‘cashback’ from criminals as up to £95,000 in seized assets are to be spent on worthwhile projects nominated by members of the public.

The Community Cashback fund has been made available for local schemes nominated through a dedicated website, at neighbourhood policing meetings or through Citizens’ Panels.

Successful bids will have to show how the local community is involved in suggesting the project, demonstrate good value for money and be related in some way to tackling antisocial or criminal behaviour locally.

Peter Hammersley, Chair of Staffordshire Criminal Justice Board said:

“It will give the Board great pleasure to hand over the ill gotten gains of criminals to pay for community projects that matter most in people’s neighbourhoods. The views of the local community are vital in helping us deliver a fair and effective Criminal Justice System in Staffordshire.

“Community Cashback offers an excellent opportunity for us to respond directly to the communities’ needs, so we really encourage people to have their say on the local projects they believe would benefit from this fund.”

To get involved in the project:

  • Suggest a project you would like to see happening in your area.
  • If you don’t have a project to suggest, you can have your say on a project suggested by someone else in your community.

Please visit the Cashback Website at http://cashback.cjsonline.gov.uk then select ‘Staffordshire’ from the area map, to nominate or vote on a project before the closing date of July 24. 

The scheme complements the recently launched Community Payback Scheme which lets the public vote on what community punishments local criminals are sent to work on.

The Government’s Crime and Justice Adviser Louise Casey said:

“It is only right that the public should have a say on how cash from criminals is spent in their community.  This sends a strong message to the public that the criminal justice system cares about what they think and is on their side.  This in turn might encourage more members of the public to help in the fight against crime – to pick up the phone to report a crime, stand up in court to give evidence and support others to do the same.

“This announcement follows the successful results of a vote on Community Payback schemes where a total of 18,000 people across the country nominated what work offenders should do to make amends for their crimes. The message behind Community Cashback and Community Payback is simple – the public must have a stronger voice in the criminal justice system – after all, it operates on their behalf and must have their backing.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

16 Comments

  1. Tax Payer

    9th July, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    I am all for taking assets away from criminals BUT how much did you take from honest people in order to get £95K from crooks?
    My guess is you took (overheads) £500k away from honest people (tax) to locate £95K.Not what I call a good return!!

  2. Tax Payer

    13th July, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    No response to my comment so lets have another go.
    There has been 70 views – do none of you have a comment on this waste.
    I was guessing the costs of collecting the £95k but now I have obtained some Gov supplied figs.
    The BBC published these figs 14/6/2006.Quote “An agency set up to seize criminals’ assets has cost taxpayers around £60m despite only recovering just over £8m from law breakers since 2003. ” End quote.
    The Agency was so poorly run it was merged with another department.A cynic might think it was to camouflage the costs.
    I have tried to find costs ,for collecting the £95K, incurred by the local police without success.
    Just in case the enormity of the loss is not apparent to some readers let me give you an analogy.

    You are walking along the road when a MUGGER demands £60.You pay under fear of some sort of punishment.
    Then the MUGGER says “I am going to spend £8 of this localy and you may suggest where!”
    For this display of “generosity” you are supposed to be grateful.
    Just in case some people still do not understand – replace the word “MUGGER” with”GOVERNMENT “.

    How many of you think a BAILIFF and his legal team do their job at a loss and yet they do a similar exercise in the real world?
    The main difference between the Bailiff&Police is one would be sacked on the spot if he charged £600,000 to recover £80,000!

  3. Phil

    13th July, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    You are talking as if this is a business. It’s not. The Government isn’t attempting to make a profit (or break even) and neither should it. The aim here is to prosecute criminals and (if possible) return what they stole back to the community from whom it was taken. They are doing this. They will never make break even. They will never make a profit. But that’s okay because in the end, the criminals are being punished and damn good, well deserving community projects are benefiting from this whole process.

    Would you rather the criminals keep that £95k and thousands of people remain disadvantaged because the resources aren’t there in their community to help them out? Would you rather that money wasn’t given back to the council for worthwhile programs like Positive Futures?

    *Please note these are my personal views and not that of the blog.

  4. Tax Payer

    13th July, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Phil you seem to miss the point.If we did nothing (which I am not suggesting) the community would have far MORE money to spend on good causes!
    What I do suggest is that it SHOULD be run like a business in the real world instead of treating the tax payer as a cash cow.
    The same job (seizing goods from bad guys) is done far more efficiently by people who know their trade.
    If this work was passed to the real world – on commission – you would see the cost fall considerably.

    Perhaps you are right and I am wrong but think of it like this.The cops go to a house in your street and tell the guy he has been a very bad boy and he has to pay £8.
    Then the cop comes to your house and says you have been a good guy give us £60.Because that is what happens.
    It is because people have been conned into thinking the scheme is good that they can spend our money with wild abandon.

    Lets take it a step further.
    The bad guy goes inside and we sell his gameboy/xbox/large TV etc – then we buy him a new set to play with while he is inside!!
    Then when he comes out he will pinch enough cash to buy the goods we took off him!

  5. Steve

    13th July, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I suppose the reason why there have been few replies could possibly be that the idea described in the article sounds like a good idea, and that your comment, coupled with your user name, sounds like a whinge.

  6. Tax Payer

    13th July, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Well i certainly am complaining about the waste of our cash.i am also very surprised no one else seems to be interested in reducing costs.
    I have done more that my three score and ten and still paying (too much) .

    By the way Phil is that “Importand ” notice just on mine or on all pages?

  7. Phil

    14th July, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Anything that generates £95k for distributing to projects which benefit the community is very worth it. To call such a project a “waste of our cash” is nothing but naive.

    Yes the notice is, of course, on all pages.

  8. Tax Payer

    14th July, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Next time you speak to someone from your pet project ask a hypothetical question.
    Would they prefer to rec £8,000 knowing Mr Crook has assets removed – or would they prefer £60,000 and he keeps his assets?
    The waste of money is because the job can be done without spending such a large amount and then there would be MORE for your pet project.
    How can anyone think spending £60M to raise £8M a good idea?
    Do not forget the crook has been punished with possibly jail – the costs I am discussing is just the collection costs.

  9. Phil

    14th July, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Not recovering that money from criminals would be a massive injustice. Yes it costs money, but it needs doing. Otherwise criminals are going to stroll out of jail (having probably only served a fraction of their sentence if they’re not one of the many to get a ‘suspended’ sentence) and enjoy the fruits of their lawless labour.

    The £60m and £8m you quote doesn’t represent £60m taken away from good projects in order to give them £8m. It means £8m more than before is going to good projects. I think we’d all like it to be more but at the same time I don’t believe any reasonable person would accept the Government sitting back and allowing criminals to keep their ill-gotten gains.

  10. Tax Payer

    14th July, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I have always stated the assets should be taken if possible.
    The £60M is of course taken away from good projects by being wasted by an inefficient system.
    I will try one last example – A man is unemployed – he is offered a job which will incur £60 per week spent on petrol.
    At the end of the week he gets £8 wages to give his wife.
    Should he do the job?

    Can you not see if he did not do the job or if he lowered his costs or if he did it more efficiently his wife would be better off?With regards to punishment of Mr crook by all means lets get tougher.Here is a idea no one on this site will like – lets put him in a cell with bread and water till he gives us all his assets.
    It will save money for your pet project (low food bill) and it will save on collection costs.Plus it just might deter a few who other wise enjoy the holiday camps we have today.

  11. Tax Payer

    14th July, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Quote ” I don’t believe any reasonable person would accept the Government sitting back and allowing criminals to keep their ill-gotten gains.”End quote

    99% do keep what they steal only a tiny amount of stolen goods are found so that point does not stand even basic scrutiny .

  12. Phil

    14th July, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Again you’re focusing purely on the financials. Like I said, it will never get even close to break even but that’s not the aim. The aim is to recover stolen assets from criminals. If it does that, it’s a success. As a tax payer I’m glad that my taxes are being spent on recovering assets from criminals and that those assets are going towards community projects.

    To supplement that I take part in those community projects because I believe in my community. By your logic I’m worse off for doing so, because I could spend that time working and getting paid. That’s not the case though. I’m better off because I’m contributing to my community and making it a better place to live for everyone. Which is exactly what recovering those assets is doing. That is a good thing whichever way you want to spin it.

  13. Tax Payer

    14th July, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    “Like I said, it will never get even close to break even ” But it could if people would only understand that it is already done better in the real world.
    I am pleased you help out with community work but so do a lot of others who do not blow their own trumpet.We will have to agree to disagree but i can not help but think what good that wasted £60M could do even if the cost was only reduced to a quarter.Just out of interest if you do work in the real world ask your collections dept if they collect more than they spend.

  14. Phil

    14th July, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    We will have to agree to disagree. I’m not blowing my own trumpet, just trying to highlight the point that it’s not about the money.

    What you call ‘the real world’ is the private sector. In the private sector activities are carried out with the aim of making a profit. In the public sector the aim is “social benefit”. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges.

  15. 66usual

    14th July, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Would they prefer to rec £8,000 knowing Mr Crook has assets removed – or would they prefer £60,000 and he keeps his assets?”

    How is the £60,000 collected? Who processes it? Who accounts for it? and yes! I’d like Mr Crook’s assets removed, legally and with due process

  16. Tax Payer

    15th July, 2009 at 12:56 am

    The figs quoted by the BBC were £60M cost to collect £8M for the whole of the UK.
    I used similar figs but without a few zero’s to show an example.
    The £60M was collected as tax in the normal way then it was used/spent to collect £8M.If it had not been wasted most of it would have been available for Phil’s pet project.
    In the real world Bailiff’s do a very similar job but much cheaper.They have to locate the bad guy without all the data which is available to the police also the police often have the guy in front of them and they can encourage him to help them -that does not mean he will always help.
    When the bailiffs have found where he lives they value the property he owns -just like the police.
    The police and the bailiffs have to ask the court for permission to repo the goods (in some cases the bailiffs can just take them but this is not the place to go into too much detail).
    The bailiffs get paid a percentage of that collected or a set fee for the job -paid on results.I use the word bailiff loosely as there are collection experts who are not bailiffs.
    Back to the police – when they have permission to take the goods they are removed and sold.This money is divided up to diff sections that were involved with the case.
    The £60M as far as I can tell was the costs of all the people involved and the total collected by all of them was £8M.
    The value of goods stolen is of course many £BILLIONS (>£50Billion?) each year.You will see the £8M over three years is (£2,700,000 per year) little more than petty cash but I do agree some people are impressed even with these infinitesimal amounts which is exactly what the GOV want.
    Just to put these figs in some sort of perspective – Asylum mother gets £170K per year -The Dome cost £1 Billion given away – The Games £10 Billion will be used less than a year and then a lot of it demolished – the ID cards circa £40 Billion.