PROCEEDS received by police from crime seizures are to go back into local communities to help fight business crime in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
The Police and Crime Commissioner's Proceeds of Crime Fund - formerly known as the Local Policing fund - is supporting projects in conjunction with local policing teams and local authorities.
It is made up of assets and money seized by police from criminals in Staffordshire under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The fight against business crime is being stepped up in the Staffordshire Moorlands, thanks to money from the fund which is going towards local initiatives including the setting up of new business crime reduction partnerships in Leek, Cheadle and Biddulp.
A £12,000 grant has been given to Stoke-on-Trent Business Crime Initiative to set up the new schemes in the three towns, helping independent traders to reduce opportunities to commit crime and disorder.
The Police Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, said he was ensuring that 100 per cent of funding received went back into the local communities.
Making sure businesses – particularly small local firms - get the help they need was a key priority.
Now Mr Ellis has launched the new Business Crime Matters strategy, spearheaded by his deputy Sue Arnold.
He said: "We are now consulting on this new strategy which recognises, for the first time, how important small local businesses are and that when they suffer crime they are victims in the same way that someone who is robbed in the street is a victim.
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of local communities in the Moorlands but being a victim of robbery, theft or vandalism can be enough to drive them into the ground and make their lives a misery.
"For the first time, 100 per cent of funding that comes back to Staffordshire Police from proceeds of crime seizures is going directly to local communities. This will fund local schemes and help businesses to fight back against criminals.
"Big businesses are more resilient and play an important commercial role across Staffordshire, but they must also take corporate responsibility in their community for helping small businesses survive and thrive.
"They have much deeper pockets and could make a significant difference by contributing a small amount to local business partnerships that prevent and fight crime."
Bids for funding had to demonstrate a clear connection with reducing crime and fit into one of the Commissioner's four priority areas - intervening early, putting victims first, preventing re-offending and improving public confidence.