Criminal assets recovery scheme ‘builds confidence in NI justice system’
Investing money recovered from criminal activity back into communities “builds confidence in the justice system”, justice minister Naomi Long has said.
Mrs Long spoke at an event in Belfast hosted by the Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) project, which was granted assets recovery community scheme (ARCS) funding from January 2019 to September 2021.
ARCS funding is sourced from the payment of confiscation orders made following successful prosecutions and convictions to remove wealth, whether that be money or assets, accumulated by the criminal activity linked to the conviction.
Mrs Long said: “The ROC approach of facilitating conversations within communities across Northern Ireland means people can work together towards safer, stronger communities. They can identify what is most needed in their own local area and how those needs can realistically be met.
“These conversations have resulted in practical help and support for those who need it most and I was really interested to hear at first hand today about the breadth of initiatives provided through ROC, from a school uniform project and a baby bank providing clothes and toys, to a memory lane church service to support people suffering with dementia and a tele-mentoring scheme to support families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
She added: “Through the ARCS Scheme we aim not only to invest in worthwhile causes in community settings, like ROC, but also to send a strong message to those who disregard the law and cause harm to individuals and communities.
“Law enforcement agencies will work together to thwart criminal enterprises and remove illegal gains using asset recovery powers. ARCS not only funds projects that benefit communities, it also builds confidence in the justice system.”