MORE than £110,000 has been donated to Solihull charities and services by the West Midlands Police in the last two years.
West Midlands Police seized more than £17 million from crooks in the last five years, latest figures have shown.
And the millions retained by West Midlands Police will be injected into the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Active Citizens Fund and spent on crime prevention or community projects.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who oversees the Active Citizens Fund, added: “It sends a strong message that we are taking money off criminals and funding worthy causes through my Active Citizens Fund with the money.
“Using criminals’ ill-gotten-gains we will be spending their loot to make communities safer.”
PCC figures show that in 2016/17 a total of £59,029 was granted to boost Solihull services.
And in 2017/18 the commissioner allocated Solihull £55,742. This is £114,771 given back to the community in the last two years.
The benefits of this are palpable in the community. An example of which is the Bluebell Community Garden project, which was regenerated using Active Citizens Fund money in July 2017 after being vandalised in 2016.
Terry Carter, aged 60, began the horticultural programme at the Bluebell Community Garden in Solihull as a way of tackling his mental health issues five months ago.
The gardening sessions in Chelmsley Wood are run by the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and received funding from the Active Citizens Fund.
The Bluebell Garden supports people with a range of mental health conditions from mild depression to schizophrenia.
Around a dozen patients are supported at any one time.
In late 2016 the site’s future was thrown into doubt when vandals broke into a building on the site used for meetings, breaks and washing. The criminals pulled out the pipe work to the sink, ripped out the cupboards, urinated on the floor and smashed all of the windows.
It was following that incident that the PCC, David Jamieson, awarded a grant of £1,366 to get the project back up and running.
It has since gone on to help many more people battle with mental health issues.
Speaking about the Bluebell Community Garden project Terry Carter said: “It’s a wonderful project. It has saved my life.
“It helped me pick myself up out of the gutter. I’ve got happiness back and that is priceless.”
Commenting on the success of the scheme, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “I’m delighted Terry is feeling better. Mental health is an important issue that is often not taken seriously enough.
“The Bluebell Community Garden is a force for good in the West Midlands and I was saddened to learn that it was badly vandalised last year.
“I am pleased my grant has been able to help in a small way and that the Active Citizens Fund has again used criminal’s ill-gotten gains for good in the community.”