Almost £800,000 ($1.25 million) of criminal’s assets will be used to fund community projects in Northern Ireland, the Justice Minister, David Ford announced.
An agreement between David Ford and the Home Office in London allowed for the redirection of the criminal’s money. Half of the criminal gains seized in Northern Ireland will remain there with assets recovery agencies absorbing the balance.
"I have lobbied to ensure this extra money remains in Northern Ireland and is targeted at preventing crime and the fear of crime," Ford said.
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"Organised criminals are in the business of making as much money as possible without sparing a thought for who they harm along the way. The recovery of criminal assets hits them where it hurts - in their pockets.
"Obviously it is difficult to predict the level of funding that will be available in the future given changes year to year of assets recovered, but I am optimistic that there will be a general increase in funding in coming years.
"Recovering criminal assets is an important focus of the Organised Crime Task Force's work and to reinvest those ill-gotten gains back into the community helps tackle crime and the fear of crime."
Ford explained that prior to the devolution of justice powers, the Home Office retained half of all criminal assets, but now the money will remain in Northern Ireland.