MONEY seized from criminals by the West Midlands Police will be donated to a local organisation in Coventry.
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 is to be injected into the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Active Citizens Fund and spent on crime prevention or community projects.
The Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, has chosen to donate money to Street Pastors in Coventry and has said he wants to double the number of Pastors in the city by the end of next year.
There are currently 48 Christian volunteers who patrol the streets of Coventry between 10pm – 3am every Friday and Saturday night. They help late night drinkers get home safely.
The scheme has been so successful in preventing crime and keeping the people of Coventry safe that there are now ambitions to double the number of Pastors to more than 100 by the end of 2018.
It’s hoped pastors will soon be able to help people in three areas of the city, rather than just one.
In the future, they hope to look after revellers in Hillfields and Far Gosford Street too.
Street Pastors has been beneficiaries of additional funding before, in 2015 the Police and Crime Commissioner donated £15,000. Last year the PCC funded the scheme with an additional £7,500.
The Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Lynnette Kelly, said: “I have been really impressed by the work of the Coventry Street Pastors.
“Every weekend the volunteers take to the streets with one sole purpose: keeping people safe.
“Not only do they reduce the number of victims of crime, but they have also helped ease demand on police officers by preventing crime from happening.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to the street pastors and encourage anyone thinking of becoming one to get in touch.”
Street Pastors have to be aged over 18, committed to a church for more than one year and have a personal reference from their minister.
Isabel McIntyre, co-ordinator of the Coventry street pastors, said: “Street Pastors have been patrolling since March 2016 and in that time we have become a recognised and accepted part of the night time economy.
“We are known by the clubbers and party-goers, as well as the homeless and the vulnerable. We are often asked for lollipops, water and sometimes, even prayer.
“We listen to people when they are happy and look after them when they are hurt.
“Most importantly we are there; taking Jesus out of the churches and on to the streets.
Sergeant Tim Roberts from Coventry’s Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “The Street Pastors are a force for good in Coventry. “As a team of volunteers they give up their own time to help keep people safe during and after a night out.
“Not only do they look out for vulnerable people, but they help prevent crime by offering support to people in distress.
“Coventry is a safer place at night with the Street Pastors patrolling”.