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Bedfordshire PCC called to give evidence before Home Affairs Select Committee

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has been called as a witness before the highly influential Home Affairs Select Committee as one of only four PCCs in the country to give evidence to its inquiry into Policing.


The Committee is examining “Policing for the Future" and will hear from Commissioner Holloway, her neighbouring PCC David Lloyd from Hertfordshire, Paddy Tipping of Nottinghamshire and Sue Mountstevens from Avon and Somerset. They will be joined by the Mayor of London, the Rt. Hon. Sadiq Khan.


The session will start at 9.30am on Tuesday November 14 2017.

HMICFRS Report rates Bedfordshire Police as ‘good’ for use of resources and ‘requires improvement’ overall for Efficiency
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has welcomed the acknowledgement in the latest HMICFRS Efficiency Report on Bedfordshire Police that the Force is “using its resources well” and “recognises it continues to face significant financial challenges” at a time when police forces nationally are “significantly stressed”. 

The annual inspection of force efficiency by the police watchdog (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services - HMICFRS) has commended Bedfordshire Police for its success in increasing its workforce diversity - with recent recruitment at 30-34% BME diversity which is at a level unprecedented in policing in England and Wales - and it has been given a rating of ‘good’ for how well it uses its resources. The report states that Bedfordshire Police is developing its understanding of demand for its services and how that demand may change. However, the Force acknowledges it needs to further develop its understanding of hidden and under-reported demand to match that of the improvements made in the area of domestic abuse, which has resulted in a greater number of victims coming forward. 

“The Efficiency Report for 2017 shows that the Force is moving in the right direction as there were three ‘requires improvement’ grades last year and there are two this year and one  ‘good’ this time. The ‘good’ is for how well Bedfordshire Police uses its very limited resources compared with other police forces facing similar serious challenges such as the third highest terror risk in the country. These also include serious organised crime gangs surging into Bedfordshire from London and other major cities with so-called ‘county-lines’ drug running, serious youth violence involving knife use and the fact that 40% of gunshots fired in the East of England from North Norfolk to the southern tip of Kent occur in this county,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“The Force has faced a surge in demand this year, following the Manchester and London terror attacks, which has resulted in further pressure on the Force Control Room and Response Officers. While HMICFRS has criticised a number of forces’ control rooms, who at the time of inspection appeared to be struggling to meet demand, the report highlights the good progress the Force is making in understanding the demand on its services. What’s more, Bedfordshire Police has been praised in its work with other partners and agencies such as local authorities and the health service, as well as increasing its analytical capability with the recruitment of two analysts to further its understanding of the county’s needs,” said the PCC. 

“What is a great pity is that the rating of ‘requires improvement’ sits just below ‘good’ in such reports and this means the media and public often view the findings as wholly positive or wholly negative and miss that there is much more light and shade involved than this,” she said. 

The report made note of the strong commitment from senior officers and scrutiny from the Commissioner in focusing on how the Force manages and prioritises demand in order to be more efficient. 

“HMICFRS has recognised that the pressures forces are facing are increasingly complex, but says that the speed with which forces can improve efficiency relies on their continued resilience and the commitment of those working in policing. 

“It’s clearly not a case of our officers’ commitment and resilience being in question - which is demonstrated on a daily basis when they run towards danger or return to work after being assaulted on duty and since Bedfordshire Police officers carry a higher caseload per officer than those elsewhere. It's a question of whether or not there is a commitment from this Government to understand the increase in demand here and adequately fund a force that is at a genuine tipping point after being failed in terms of funding by every Government of every colour across the political spectrum in the past,” said Commissioner Holloway.

PCC commends Force for best performance in the country on diversity to better reflect Bedfordshire's communities
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has praised the Force for its continued outstanding recruitment of officers reflecting the make-up of the county’s communities this year, which has resulted in a significant increase in the workforce’s diversity. 

Since April 2017, 66 of the 100 new police constables promised this financial year by the PCC and Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, have been recruited, of whom 33% are non-white British, including Eastern European candidates, and 28% are from a black and minority ethnic background (BME).

“It’s absolutely right that a police force looks and sounds like the communities it represents which is why the founding father of policing, Sir Robert Peel said that the police are - or certainly should be - the public and the public are the police. Bedfordshire Police has a success rate around diversity which is unmatched anywhere in policing, among the 43 forces of England and Wales, so it’s an outstanding achievement. Just last month (19 October) I was asked by the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Yvette Cooper, to let her know how we’re doing this, given the impact we all hope this has on the confidence of communities to report Hate Crimes and other criminal acts,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“What’s particularly impressive this year is that both our Asian and Eastern European communities are strongly represented, with all the advantages of language skills and cultural understanding this brings to policing this county. Make no mistake though; this recruitment isn’t about being PC but about recruiting the best PCs, whatever their background.

“Inspector Mo Aziz and his team have done an incredible job, taking a recruitment drive into places of worship and neighbourhoods which had never before had a tradition of being involved in policing in Bedfordshire. They’ve also worked hard to understand why those from BME backgrounds might not have applied to join in the past or why they have left. There've been recruitment posters showing Bedfordshire police constables from different cultures and ethnicities and a buddy scheme to support new officers by giving them the help, advice and reassurance of more experienced BME officers and others who’ve been recruited more recently,” she said.   

Inspector Aziz, along with his colleague, PC Ruth John-Chambers, has worked hard to encourage people from all backgrounds to apply which has led to them both receiving a Special Recognition Award from the National Black Police Association.

“I am immensely proud of this achievement, as we are working tirelessly to recruit people from all ethnicities and walks of life. We will continue to work close with our communities to engage all residents of Bedfordshire and encourage them to consider a career with the police,” said Inspector Aziz.

Bedfordshire Police’s most recent recruitment drive closed last month (1 October) and it is expected that the process of assessing potential new officers will soon result in additional recruitment, including across diversity, further boosting the frontline.

“Last financial year, to this April, the Force managed to achieve 30-34% diversity across its recruitment which is an unheard of success. Here in the county other blue lights, like the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are learning from the police, as I hear when I attend the Fire Authority, and other forces are visiting us to find out more. We have to be careful not to become victims of our own success; Hertfordshire Police even came to the Luton Mela to recruit alongside us! Seriously, a higher level of diversity is a necessity in every force in a modern - and fairer - world and it can’t happen soon enough for me,” said Commissioner Holloway.
PCC corrects Home Office over 'misunderstanding' of the Bedfordshire Police budget at critical point when funding is being decided
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has pointed to “a fundamental misunderstanding of the Force’s financial position” by the Home Office at the critical time when police force budgets are to be settled in next month’s Spending Review.

The Home Office had released statements to news services which claimed Bedfordshire Police holds £13.2m in its “reserves” and pointed to increased funding of police in our county of £1.8m, which the Commissioner confirmed was more than wiped out by the costs of standing still.

Commissioner Holloway stated that Bedfordshire Police, in fact, has just £3m in general reserves which can be used for any emergency and any purpose. For example, these can be used to help fund the extra £650,000 which has to be found by the Force for the recent one-off (unconsolidated) pay award to police officers, announced by Government, on top of the 1% already budgeted for.

“The remainder are so-called ‘earmarked’ reserves - which are held for specific purposes, including medium term financial planning and funds which, as PCC, I'm required to keep in law for insurance, maintenance of police buildings and one-off costs. For example, the Soham murder inquiry - a one-off event - reputedly cost over £7m to police. In the public sector, the minimum amount generally considered prudent to hold as a general reserve is 3% of income - which is virtually identical to what I am reserving, in Bedfordshire Police terms,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“I am genuinely hugely concerned, at such a critical time (when the police funding settlement for 2018/19 is due to be announced just next month in the Chancellor’s Spending Review) that the Home Office still does not appear to fully understand our finances and I am writing to the Policing Minister immediately to set the record straight.

“As far as any extra money is concerned, Bedfordshire Police has had to make savings of £11.1m in the three financial years 2015/16 to 2017/18. While the Home Office say our overall funding has increased from £99.6m to £101.4m, an increase of £1.8m, this does not take account the fact that our stand-still costs have increased well above that level,” added the PCC.

“Such costs include a 1% pay award on all of our pay costs each year for those three years. These in themselves exceeded the £1.8m additional funding the Home Office mention. On top of that we have had to increase our pension costs, meet the increase in cost, from a change in legislation, for national insurance (an increase of £1.7m), pay for the new mandatory cost for an Apprenticeship Levy as well as make unavoidable investment in ICT to ensure that our computer systems and tools remain up to date for modern day policing. All of these costs collectively amount to absolutely necessary spending which is way and above the £1.8m quoted by the Home Office,” said the Commissioner. 

The facts on Bedfordshire Police funding:-

* The Force has £3m in general reserves and £10.7m in earmarked reserves.

* At the end of 2020-21, it is anticipated that the Force will hold £3m in general reserves     and just £3.4m will be left in earmarked reserves.

* The PCC is legally obliged to hold a range of earmarked reserves to cover the upkeep and delivery of estates and buildings, insurance liabilities and support one-off costs associated with Force infrastructure.

Just this week the PCC sent an analysis of unprecedented demand on Bedfordshire Police to Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, as part of the Home Office’s new review of all police funding.

“The summary is that we are 300 frontline officers and 80 detectives short of forces facing similar crime challenges even before the surge in demand across all of policing this summer, which the Force is in a worse position than others to cope with as it is in the lowest quartile for central funding and also for council tax, as proportionately fewer properties in this council are at the higher end for charges (Band D and above),” said the Commissioner.

This year Bedfordshire Police has faced a surge in demand never seen before including:-

 * An 11% rise in 999 calls

* A 16% rise in 101s

* A 24% rise in incidents requiring an immediate response (all May 2016-2017).

In addition, 40% of all shots fired across the seven Forces of the East of England are fired in Bedfordshire and the Force faces the third highest terror risk in the country.

“This is why it is so imperative that the Home Office gets its facts right and that the Minister who initiated this very welcome review in order that any gap between resources and demand could be fully evidenced, can see that I have provided the unvarnished truth in our report this week,” concluded Commissioner Holloway.
PCC sends 'most important document Bedfordshire Police has ever sent to Government' in bid to secure Force's future in November Spending Review
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway has submitted an analysis of the gap between resources and unprecedented demand on her Force this year to the Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, ahead of next month’s Spending Review which she believes may settle the future of Bedfordshire Police.

As a result, Commissioner Holloway called the Bedfordshire Police Demand and Finance Report 2017 “arguably the most important document which the Force has ever sent to Government.”

“It certainly is among the most detailed ever to be sent to a Policing Minister from the Force as it absolutely clearly provides evidence for the £10 million Bedfordshire Police now needs each year to meet a level of demand for its services that has never been seen before,” said the Commissioner.

“Even though I’ve supported the Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, in recruiting 96 new Police Constables in the financial year to April 1 and 100 more this year, the Force still needs 300 frontline officers - at a cost of £8 million - and 80 detectives to meet the demand for investigations - costing a further £2 million. I’ve called on the Minister to treat Bedfordshire Police as a special case for scrutiny given its unique situation as he considers funding reports from all the 43 police forces of England and Wales ahead of next month’s Spending Review. The Chancellor will announce the policing settlement as we move ahead into 2018/19 and I firmly believe that if this shortfall is not met, Bedfordshire Police’s future is unsustainable,” she said.

The Commissioner says the extra investment is necessary since both the Policing Minister Nick Hurd - in an address to all PCCs - and, last week, the head of MI5, have confirmed the demand in policing which has built over the last year represents not just a 'spike' but a 'sustained surge'. For Bedfordshire Police and its residents this has meant:-

* an 11% increase in 999 calls this year

* a 16% increase in 101 calls

* a 24% increase in calls requiring an immediate response by officers (in the 12 month period from May 2016 - May 2017)

In common with the rest of England and Wales, crime levels have also risen in Bedfordshire with a 12.2% increase in overall recorded crime in the county between April and August 2017.

“Bedfordshire Police is a force achieving miracles on its over-stretched budget, which is one of the lowest in all of British policing despite very high levels of Serious Organised Crime demand and that caused by gangs and criminals seeking to operate drug trafficking along so-called county lines out of London, our near neighbour. While it’s true to say all of policing is reporting a surge in demand, Bedfordshire is different because it not only guards the back door to the capital, and UK plc, but started way behind other forces because of its historically low funding which no government of any political shade has ever tackled properly. It is fair to say its future is on the line,” said the PCC.

The Policing Minister is receiving demand and funding reports from each police force after halting a review of the old national police funding formula following the Manchester and London terror attacks and after evidence was presented to him of a general shortfall in funding, compared to demand on policing, in a joint submission from the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chiefs Council at the beginning of September 2017.

“Bedfordshire started so far back in the race, compared with other forces, you could claim it couldn’t see the grid. We are now seeing other forces who say they're experiencing what this county’s police have had to deal with for years, with a void between the size of the Frontline and the demands being made on those officers. What makes it worse is that nobody could conceivably have predicted the rise in demand for the Force’s services like that experienced this year,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“I can prove that when Bedfordshire Police is given the money and staff it produces exemplary policing. For example, the Force leads the Eastern Region’s Regional Organised Crime Unit and Counter Terror Intelligence Unit for seven forces and has turned them both around to take and hold the lead position for disruptions and successful prosecutions. My message to Government is that I need it to give Bedfordshire the funds and staff to do the same in Community Policing and 999 and 101 Response services and the Chief Constable and I will finish the job. This is now for the Home Office to settle with the Treasury,” said the PCC.

The Commissioner insisted that a merger between Bedfordshire Police and the surrounding forces of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire would not solve the problem as the extra investment would be necessary in any case.

“Understandably, the taxpayers of our neighbouring counties are not about to agree to the policing they pay for being sucked into Bedfordshire, as a county, and most particularly the Luton area, which the Demand and Finance Report has proved absorbs some 40% of all Bedfordshire Police’s total policing resources,” she said.

The Spending Review, which will announce the funding settlement for policing in 2018/19 will take place on November 22.
PCC calls on Bedfordshire to stamp out hate crime
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has pledged her support to Hate Crime Awareness Week and called on those living in Bedfordshire to join the Force in raising awareness.

The national week, led by the charity Stop Hate UK, falls shortly after the PCC backed calls for hate crime online abuse to be treated more seriously. During the week, the OPCC and Force will be taking boards that illustrate unity against hate crime around the county for people to sign.

“I am only too pleased to sign up to Bedfordshire Police’s campaign in which the people of Bedfordshire put their names to state clearly that there is no place for it in this county. It can be devastating to be picked on because of your faith, race, gender, sexuality or as a result of a disability,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“As PCC, I encounter examples almost daily of our communities living in a tolerant and harmonious way, together. Unfortunately, there is a small minority whose prejudice and bigotry are voiced through abuse which amounts to hate crime.

“Bedfordshire Police has zero tolerance of such behaviour, which is why it has a dedicated sergeant to lead around the whole subject of hate crime,” added the PCC.

Reports of hate crime to Bedfordshire Police, between January and September, have risen by 28.10% compared to that of 2016; a rise that Commissioner Holloway feels is in direct response to the terror attacks this year.

“Thankfully, at this month’s Strategic Board, the figures show hate crime coming down. Three months ago in the wake of the London and Manchester attacks, there were 89 reports in July. Over the past month there have been 66, but every one of these is unacceptable to me,” said the Commissioner.

The Force has a dedicated hate crime team, led by Sergeant James Hart, which works with local charities and organisations to raise awareness and educate people to better understand the impact it can have on victims.

“National Hate Crime Awareness Week has never been so important. It’s been a very difficult year with communities across the UK experiencing prejudice and discrimination. These offences have ranged from verbal abuse to people being physically attacked. The victims of these offences are being targeted for their beliefs or being different or perceived to be different,” said Sergeant James Hart.

“Hate crime is under reported and we need to ensure victims and communities across Bedfordshire feel empowered to report such crimes. These cases are abhorrent and have absolutely no place in our society.

“Bedfordshire Police has prioritised hate crime for many years and Hate Crime Awareness Week provides us with a platform to educate the public on how we can help and increase awareness across our communities. We have organised events across the week and have designed wrist bands and promotional banners to be used across the county. These resources will give members of the public an opportunity to be part of the week and write a message of support which we hope to be used as part of our social media campaign.

“We need to increase confidence and National Hate Crime Awareness is a big part of this process. Bedfordshire Police takes a zero tolerance approach to Hate Crime and I hope by increasing awareness victims feel comfortable coming forward,” added Sgt Hart.

Hate Crime Awareness Week will continue until 21 October 2017, with members of the OPCC and Bedfordshire Police going around the county encouraging everyone to sign the Hate Crime Awareness Boards and to wear the wrist bands.

“Members of my office and representatives of Bedfordshire Police will be out and about all week and I ask people to please sign the boards and wear wrist bands in order to support us to stamp out hate crime in this county,” added the PCC.
PCC hopes to steer young drivers in the right direction with Road Safety Event
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has been working alongside her office to improve road safety awareness amongst drivers aged 17 to 25.

With 117 road collisions involving young drivers last year in Bedfordshire, and car accidents being one of the biggest causes of death for young people, road safety has been made a priority this autumn by the PCC who joined new students as part of the University of Bedfordshire’s Freshers’ Week to highlight the issue of safe driving and hand out free breathalysers.

“It appals me that one of the greatest threats to life for under 25s is not illness, but death in an accident on the roads. My office has got together with the University of Bedfordshire, sixth form colleges and schools to offer young drivers a real insight into how they can be safer on Bedfordshire’s roads,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“If speaking to students at the University and at the Road Safety Event saves one life or prevents one crash, it will have been entirely worthwhile,” added the PCC.

The Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has been working with young drivers by carrying out a short survey to find out their driving habits, experiences as both a passenger and driver and to gain an insight as to how road safety can be improved.

If you are aged between 17 and 25 please take 5 minutes to complete our Young Drivers Road Safety Survey.

The data from the survey will help inform and shape a one day road safety event for young drivers on 22 November 2017. Taking part during National Road Safety Week ‘Speed Down – Save Lives’ (an initiative from road safety charity Brake), students from across Bedfordshire will be invited to be part of a day which will outline the dangers to drivers, and include helpful talks and demonstrations from Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue and The Road Victims Trust, as well as local and national partners who are dedicated to improving road safety.  

The OPCC snap-shot survey carried out during Freshers’ Week revealed that many students were unaware that using their phone in any capacity whilst operating a vehicle was illegal.

29% of students surveyed during Freshers’ Week said they had used their phone whilst driving. Whilst 37% admitted to having driven or been driven by someone after having an alcoholic drink.

Accompanying the PCC and members of the OPCC during Freshers’ Week was Bedfordshire Police’s University Liaison Officer - PC Craig Pearce - who offered students road safety advice.

“I’m really proud to have taken on this role as the student population is integral to Bedfordshire, and that’s why the role is so important. I have engaged and met with a lot of new students who are young drivers on the roads.

“After handing out free breathalysers with the Commissioner, I really hope young drivers think before getting into a car after having a drink or with a driver who has had a drink. My message is simple, don’t be pressured into it by any of your friends and leave your mobile phones out of reach so you won’t be tempted to use them,” said PC Pearce.
PCC meets new Prison Governor to promise support to turn around the lives of prisoners at the end of their sentences
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has welcomed Helen Clayton-Hoar to her post as the new Governor of HMP Bedford with an offer to work together to better prepare prisoners for release.

The Commissioner visited Governor Clayton-Hoar at the 200-year-old prison in the centre of Bedford (Thursday 28 September) to meet the Governor and see how they can best use their services and funds together to ensure more successful resettlement and rehabilitation for prisoners. 

“I was particularly keen to make sure that the new Governor and her staff are fully aware that I have a scheme to fund rent deposits for those leaving prison as we both agree that a stable home is the foundation of a life away from crime.

“I also wanted to explore how I might support the Governor by arranging training for prisoners in key building skills as this county is one of the fastest expanding areas for house building in the country and the demand for bricklayers, plasterers, roofers, electricians and plumbers is outstripping supply. If a prisoner is to “go straight” for life they need to have a means of properly supporting themselves and their families and local companies are far more likely to extend an offer of work if the individual has the very skills they most need,” said the Commissioner.

Governor Clayton-Hoar comes into the role at Bedford Prison with 25 years’ experience in the prison service and explained her vision to the Commissioner: “Above all else I want this to be an organisation which aims to release offenders back into the community both inspired and equipped for change; inspired by the mentoring approach of the staff and equipped with the skills necessary to find work.

“I am very pleased to have been appointed as the Governor of Bedford Prison and am looking forward to working with colleagues within the local criminal justice system and the wider community in Bedfordshire."

“I have worked within the Prison Service for 25 years and have previously held positions in the Thames Valley and London areas.  I am, however, new to Bedfordshire and will be looking to work with the PCC to ensure the prison delivers its part in keeping the public safe in our local community,” added the Governor.

“I genuinely feel that the Governor and I share a vision for breaking the vicious cycle of prisoners leaving through the gate one year and coming back the next, with nothing changing for them or society. Helping them to find a proper home and the means of supporting themselves forever can only add to the safety of the people of Bedfordshire as well as being the right thing to do for prisoners themselves,” said the PCC.

PCC welcomes volunteer deputy to help turn county into centre of excellence over policing of human trafficking
Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has appointed a recognised national authority on human trafficking as her Deputy.
Justine Currell, who heads up the charity Unseen UK and runs the national anti-slavery helpline from Biggleswade, has agreed to help the PCC on two to three days per month on a voluntary, unsalaried, basis.
Justine has more than 28 years’ experience as a non-political civil servant at the Home Office and formerly headed up its unit dealing with Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.
"So little is known about Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery that every police force in the country has to report every case they uncover to the Home Office, but we know it's a problem in this county; we have an international airport that brings in passengers on cheap flights from Eastern Europe, often lured here by the offer of plum jobs which don't exist, and Toddington is the first tachograph stop required for lorry drivers after Dover. Bedfordshire Police has also carried out a number of very high profile raids on traveller sites where individuals were believed to be living as human slaves.
"In 2017 that is simply unacceptable and I need a deputy who can bring specialist knowledge to policing and help the Chief Constable and I create a centre of excellence in the county, and region, in this area," said the PCC.
"But this is not the only advantage to Justine's appointment; she has worked very extensively in the Home Office and can help me take the facts about Bedfordshire's funding position directly to civil servants, just as I have been doing where the Home Secretary, Policing and Security Ministers are concerned for the last 17 months.
"I was delighted when Justine said she would accept the post on a voluntary basis as, right now, I do not feel I can justify the salary of a Deputy given Bedfordshire's budget constraints, even though the workload clearly provides such justification as almost every other PCC in the country has a Deputy on a salary," said the Commissioner.
Justine Currell will replace the PCC at meetings dealing with her own specialist area of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery and will assist Commissioner Holloway, on an occasional basis, with some of the key set governance and information meetings required of the PCC, or her representative, including, but not limited to:-
*The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire Tri-force Alliance
*The Seven Force Eastern Regional Alliance
* The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit
* The Criminal Justice Board
* General meetings of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC)
* APCC Portfolio meetings on International Policing, for which Commissioner Holloway is the national lead
* APCC Portfolio meetings on the Strategic Policing Requirement priorities set by the Home Secretary for which she is    the national lead, such as Child Sexual Exploitation
* Briefings from the National Crime Agency and other policing or victims' organisations
* Executive meetings of the 3 county Community Safety Partnerships
* Stop and Search Scrutiny Panels
The PCC will continue to lead Bedfordshire Police's monthly governance meetings, deliver a public lead in the media, attend and address public events, sit on the National Strategic Committee for Counter Terrorism and front the Bedfordshire Grants Commissioning Process for Victim Support and Community Safety to distribute her Ministry of Justice Fund.
Justine Currell's appointment was ratified at the required Confirmation Hearing of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel on Monday September 25 when they had a chance to question her over the extensive experience she brings as a volunteer to her part-time role.
“I am absolutely delighted to take up the voluntary position of Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire. Supporting Commissioner Holloway to achieve her eight priorities, in improving the way Bedfordshire Police operates within the county, is something I am very passionate about and can’t wait to be involved in,” said Justine Currell.
Justine joined Unseen on 1 May 2016 following after 28 years in the civil service.  During that time, she held a variety of operational and policy posts working across a range of UK Government departments.
"I am very much looking forward to working with Justine. I run a very tiny, but efficient, office of just 8 operational staff, including one who is part-time, with secretarial support, and we all look forward to welcoming her to the Bedfordshire OPCC given all the useful experience she brings with her," said the PCC.
PCC chairs Annual Parish Council Conference to discuss policing in Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, welcomed the county’s Parish and Town Councillors last week (20 September) to have an "honest and open" discussion on policing in Bedfordshire at her second Annual Parish Conference. 

Around 40 councillors attended the meeting co-chaired by the Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, along with other senior members of the Force to discuss issues such as rural crime, community policing and funding. 

“I promised the parishes that I would meet with them every year by holding a Parish Councils’ Conference and I’m delighted at the response to this second event. We asked every council for their top three priorities and they came back loud and clear - speeding, nuisance motorbikes and a need for visible policing. That’s exactly what the Force is trying to provide as far as possible, despite the limits on our officer numbers,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“To address these top concerns, we assembled a team for the conference to tell parish councillors about the new community teams in the North, South and centre of the county and how they’ll reach out to them and problem solve.

“The councillors heard that the Chief Constable and I want every community officer to know every vulnerable person on their patch, every organised crime group and, at the other extreme, their councillors. They need to visit every school, old people’s home, place of care for children and bail hostel on their territory. That sounds like good old-fashioned policing to me!” said the PCC.

Senior officers delivered updates on the latest successes in tackling crime. Chief Inspector Mark Farrant, who heads up the Rural Crime Team, explained that working alongside local authorities to arrange planned days of action had resulted in 62 vehicles being seized, 11 arrests and 56 speeding offences in the first 6 months of the unit. 

There were assurances from Sergeant Samantha Hunt, who leads Operation Meteor, the Force’s response to the biking issue, that police are doing everything they can to catch those causing a nuisance by biking in Bedfordshire illegally. In the last month, a further six motorbikes have been seized. She described how key local petrol stations are no longer selling fuel to riders suspected to be on stolen bikes, or using bikes for anti-social behaviour, after arrangements with police. 

The Chief Constable was keen to hear from the councillors and understand the issues they are facing in their parishes and wards. 

“It was great to meet again with the councillors that represent our county. They brought their concerns to us and we updated them on what we are doing to improve visibility, as well as tackle rural crime and anti-social behaviour, both of which are really impacting on our communities,” said Chief Constable Jon Boutcher.  

“We face a lot of challenges in Bedfordshire. We are a small Force with a lot of complex crimes to deal with and we are making progress, but we can’t do the job properly without an increase in funding. I’m not after a money tree, I’m after a leaf,” added the Chief. 

"This conference really shows how my team and the Force are making our money go as far as possible to improve policing in rural areas in our county where the National Farmers Union told us the cost of crime has gone down by £200,000 on last year,” said the PCC.

The second annual Parish Conference was held at the Chicksands Headquarters of Central Bedfordshire Council and all parishes in Bedfordshire were invited to send a representative.
PCC spells out cost of police pay award in Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway has welcomed the pay award for police officers announced by Government last week but spelled out the implications for her cash-strapped force.

The Government announced a pay award for police, as expected, of 1% but added a one-off payment of a further 1% from September 1 2017 which it intends to be funded from police cash reserves. The Commissioner pointed to the very limited amount of reserves held by her force and the funding crisis which future rises could present.

“Police officers everywhere put their safety on the line every day they work on the frontline and deserve recognition of this and a pay increase. In Bedfordshire, this is particularly true since we have just over 1,000 officers to police a population of 644,000 with some of the greatest challenges anywhere in British policing including the third highest terror risk in the country, the cross-over of Serious Organised Crime with London, as it’s so near to us, and an increasing gangs issues involving young people across the county as a whole. While a pay cap on public sector salaries could not possibly last forever, we need to be in no doubt of what this means for Bedfordshire Police as people can see for themselves that we are having to find double the amount that had been budgeted for,” said the Commissioner.

“The Policing Minister referred to reserves held by police forces generally amounting to some £1.5 billion and suggested that policing could easily afford the rise, as a result. It’s right that some forces hold comfortable levels of reserves but this isn’t even remotely the case in Bedfordshire which has just £3m in general reserves, the amount usually used as a benchmark in the public sector for the very minimum which should be kept for an emergency – at just 3% of income.

“In the past, the pay of police staff has tended to rise in line with police pay awards so, if I have to rely on the general reserves and spend nothing at all on developing the force or its buildings, if we assume pay awards for both sets of employees as we move forward, at 2% a year we would have to find £900,000 extra and £1.8 million at 3%.

“You don’t have to be a mathematician to spot that this would wipe out Bedfordshire’s reserves in three years at 2% and less than 18 months at 3% and we already knew we were heading for a financial black hole in 2019-20 without any pay increase above the 1%,” warned Commissioner Holloway.

“The prospect of standing still isn’t a realistic possibility either. We’re already committed to a change in the structure and buildings at Bedfordshire Police so that the Force Control Room 999 and 101 call handlers sit with the Crime Bureau which records crime so there’s a much smoother and better service for the public which will also meet the concerns expressed over several years by the police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, HMIC. If funding help isn’t provided to the force soon it simply won’t be sustainable in the near future,” the PCC warned.

The Government introduced a pay cap for public sector workers, including police, in 2010 with a two year pay freeze then a 1% limit. The Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, has called on police forces in England and Wales to submit details of their crime and non-crime challenges, their resources and the gap between these, through the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chiefs Council, as the basis of a review of police funding.
A chance to shape victims' services in Bedfordshire
Invitation to join us for a briefing on the role vacancies for our newly developed Signpost – Victims Services Hub

Monday 18th September 7pm, Police HQ, Woburn Road, Kempston, MK43 9AX

The victims ‘Signpost’ service which has been developed over the past year launches on the 1st April 2018 and has been created by the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure that victims of crime receive the best possible support to cope and recover from their experience.

It will be open to and provide support to victims of all crime types whether those crimes are reported to the police or not. Where the victim chooses to report to the crime to the police, the service will provide information, guidance, practical and emotional support through the criminal justice process and for as long as the individual requires.

Job Title Description
Head of Victims Care Services To lead and manage the Victim Care Service in order to ensure it provides excellent services which ensure victims are best equipped to cope and recover from their experience and reduce long term impact on emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.
Victim Care Coordinator To provide end to end co-ordinated support to victims of crime from the initial report to police or self-referral through any criminal justice process and ensure an effective handover to other service delivery partners if additional or specialist support is required.
Restorative Justice Coordinator The RJ Coordinator will be responsible to develop the new Restorative Justice Service and managed its delivery.

N.B some information will not be available

If you would like to find out more information about the roles and wish to attend please complete the form below and return to

Recruitment Invitation