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PCC congratulates Community Cohesion Team on winning global award
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has praised Bedfordshire Police’s Community Cohesion Team for winning the prestigious University of East London’s Chancellor’s Award at the Global Equality and Diversity Awards last week (Thursday 30 November). 

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner nominated the team for the award earlier this year and the officers were shortlisted in October alongside major global corporate companies, IBM and Smart Sourcing. The team monitor daily tensions within communities as well as building relationships to build trust across Bedfordshire through their daily patrols and visits.

“I’m absolutely delighted that the Community Cohesion Team so deservedly won this hugely prestigious international award after being nominated by my office. It shows that, although based in Luton, their impact to draw communities together works across the county and country - with other forces visiting Bedfordshire to see how they do what they do so well. This, now, has been recognised globally. What’s more they were competing for the award with some of the best known and largest companies,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 “I’ve been out and about with the team over the past 18 months to community events and meetings from those at our Gurdwaras, Mosques, the Bedfordshire Synagogue and Christian churches to those marking the relationship with Community Associations like those representing Romanians in Luton and local business groups in Bedford’s Queen’s Park,” added the PCC.

 The Cohesion Team manage the Stop Search Scrutiny Panel, which is made up of members of the public and hard to reach communities, who meet up quarterly to have an input on policing in Bedfordshire and review Stop and Search incidents recorded by officers’ body worn video cameras.

 “This team lives and breathes its work and, as PC Hayley Hunter said about this award, they’ve now won so many they need a new awards cabinet! Seriously, the team is living proof that public engagement is a priority for Bedfordshire Police to support harmonious communities.

 “The Cohesion team attend a variety of local public events each year and run their own projects. For example, all members of the team have played a vital and visible role in Luton Carnival by creating a community float and, for the last two years, they have successfully held a stall at The Big Iftar, an Asian festival of culture, where they were able to engage with thousands. It is events like these that enable them to break down barriers and promote Bedfordshire Police as a career of choice for Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities. This is clearly a successful approach as Bedfordshire Police is one of the highest recruiters of officers from BME backgrounds of all 43 police forces across the UK,” said the Commissioner. 

Chief Inspector Mark Farrant, who has worked for the Force for over 21 years, has been leading the Community Cohesion Team since August 2017.

 “The team and I are very humbled to receive this award, particularly as the last 12 months have been extremely challenging. Incidents that happen nationally and internationally have an impact on local communities. We work in really challenging arenas such as hate-crime, anti-social behaviour and serious youth violence but we are lucky to have volunteers within the community and a dedicated team who can all make a difference,” said Chief Inspector Farrant. 

“We are very pleased to be recognised for our efforts but it is the communities of Bedfordshire, who support their local police force, that are truly fantastic and deserve to share this award with us,” he added.

In the New Year (16 February), the Community Cohesion Team will be holding an awards ceremony, sponsored by the PCC, to thank members of the community for their efforts and build on work towards making Bedfordshire a more cohesive county.  

“We’re heading for the 2018 Cohesion Thank You Awards in the New Year which I’m very happy to sponsor when more than 400 individuals who work in partnership with the team across faith and age groups and neighbourhoods county-wide will also then have the chance to say thank you to them for everything they do, in person,” added the Commissioner.