Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
01234 842064
PCC makes the case to bolster the frontline to Policing Minister

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway took her argument on the need for urgent funding and an uplift in officers in the county to her first meeting with the newly appointed Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, this week.

On the Minister’s first visit to Bedfordshire Police Headquarters, at his request, Mr Hurd met with the Commissioner, Chief Constable Jon Boutcher and attended a Q&A session with frontline police officers. The Minister then went on an impromptu ride-along with 999 Response officers in the North of the county.

“I am absolutely delighted that the new Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, chose to come to Bedfordshire Police to examine the facts for himself around funding, our limited resources and the threats and crime challenges which are uniquely faced by this Force in this county,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“The Minister met with me for just over an hour and told me the message had been very clearly delivered and received.

“He then joined Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, to discuss the operational demands on Bedfordshire Police before, at his request, meeting with new police constables to discuss their feelings about policing in Bedfordshire, why they’d become officers and their hopes for the future,” added the Commissioner.

She pointed to the surge in demand in the county following the Manchester terror attacks, in terms of 999 and 101 calls, with the Force Control Room receiving comparable numbers of calls on the night before the Minister’s visit to those expected on a New Year’s Eve.

“The Minister was very receptive to hearing the facts about the change in policing being experienced here in Bedfordshire. We have just over 1,000 officers to service the policing needs of a population of 644,000 and the Force was already at full stretch,” said the Commissioner.

Detective Constable Surinder Ram, who has been working for the Force for 14 years, chose to participate in the Q&A session.

“It was a great opportunity in a safe environment for myself and colleagues to be very honest about our views and experiences in policing.

“The Minster seemed really interested and took on board our concerns and worries. It was a constructive experience and I think people are starting to understand that we need to change in order to deal with the level of demand we are facing, with the assistance of an increase in staff,” said Detective Ram.  

“What was particularly impressive was that he wanted to hear the warts and all experiences of frontline officers, who were not handpicked for their meeting with him, but simply drawn from those who happened to be on duty,” said the Commissioner.

“He asked them the extent to which their issue was around pay and, as a measure of the extraordinary commitment of Bedfordshire Police, they told him as a group that this was not about the money but the need for more colleagues to boost their frontline, better serve the public and avoid the constant criticisms of the police watchdog, HMIC.

“I hope that he could not fail to be impressed by this,” said Commissioner Holloway.