WHEN criminals are found guilty, much is made of the money that it costs to have them put in jail or punished.

Little attention is paid to any proceeds that can be generated as a result. But in Gwent more than £50,000 was raised and given to local charities from the police and crime commissioner’s police property fund in the spring.

Every penny is raised by the police pulling together the proceeds of property and cash seized from criminals and selling on unclaimed lost property.

Groups who apply for funding must show that they support the commissioner’s police and crime plan to reduce and prevent crime. And they must report back to the commissioner’s office a year after they are awarded money to show how much benefit it has had.

In May, when the last awards were given out, 32 of 67 groups in the region who applied for grants were successful.

And Gwent’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Paul Harris visited local Scouts on Sunday to see how some of the money awarded is being put to use.

Gwent Scouts were awarded £4,498 in May to provide four leadership training courses for new young leaders, who are aged between 14 and 18-years-old.

And Mr Harris said of the fund: “It’s all money that comes back into policing. It is not just giving someone a grant, it is an investment in the future.”

He met some of the Scouts at the first course at Botany Bay Training Activity Centre in Tintern and said: “It’s brilliant to see how many people are positive about life.

“The Scout movement is a fantastic vocation for young people. Not only are they providing positive diversionary activities for them, they are also teaching youngsters skills, to work within a team and to learn and think for themselves. The programme ensures that inspirational youngsters are also passing these skills on.”

The next course takes place in Newbridge in January and the third is at Botany Bay in April. Scouts must attend two of the courses and a first aid course to complete their training.

Peter Sheppard, a senior volunteer from Gwent Scouts, who is coordinating the courses, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to inspire and train young people to become leaders both now and in the future. The funding has enabled us to provide a series of challenging courses that enable young people to help deliver an adventurous programme.”

Three other groups were awarded a full £5,000 grant from the scheme earlier this year.

They were radio station BRfm, Partners and Communities Engaging (PACE), both based in Blaenau Gwent, and Torfaen music charity Dragon Bands.

Angela Byrne, of Dragon Bands, said their money had been used to employ a young person to work as a marketing officer – a member of staff they would not have been able to afford otherwise.

“She is 23 and an inspiring young woman and she’s just drawn us up a business plan. The grant really helped,” she said.

Dragon Bands aims to secure another grant when nominations re-open next year.

And PACE consists of community representatives and police who seek to make people aware of the dangers of mephedrone use. Consultations held in the summer found 40 per cent of Blaenau’s 15- and 16-year-olds said they had tried the drug.

The group’s £5,000 funding is being spent on commissioning a film, The Good Drug Dealer, and providing training for teachers, youth workers and police to supplement existing drug education programmes.

Applications for another award awarded by the police and crime commissioner, the commissioner’s partnership fund, close this Friday, October 18, at 4pm. Grants between £10,000 and £25,000 will be awarded to groups from a pot of £100,000.

The funding available will be split into two tiers. Tier 1 will be for bids ranging up to £10,000, while Tier 2 will be for bids from £10,001 to £25,000.

Application forms can be found on the police and crime commissioner’s website at www.gwent.pcc.police.uk. The PCC’s office can be contacted by phone on 01633 642200 or by emailing commissioner@gwent.pnn.police.uk. Any groups who put together a successful bid will be told in November. Nominations for the Commissioner’s Police Property Fund will open again next year.