Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway welcomed the Luton Junior Police Squads to Police HQ for a fun-packed final day.
Children from the St Martin De Porres School Junior Police Squad, which has been funded by the Commissioner, had a tour of the Force Control Room, the Custody Suite and a display from the dog section.
“It’s been fantastic to see the Luton Junior Police Squads thoroughly enjoying their day at Police HQ with our newest four-legged recruits – two new police puppies – and meeting the Firearms Team,” said Commissioner Holloway.
“Their teachers told us that not only did they also love this opportunity, but the benefits, in school, of the improved discipline and team-working skills the police have taught pupils has been of huge value to all involved.”
The Junior Police Squad project, which was launched by the Commissioner, provided children with police uniforms, caps and notebooks. Police officers have held workshops and fun activities for the children to teach them about policing, crime prevention and parading skills.
PC Ben Dimmock and his team have been working closely with local schools to encourage children to join and build stronger relationships with our communities in a scheme for 11-12 year olds.
“The children from St Martin De Porres School Junior Police Squad have had a fantastic morning visiting Bedfordshire Police Headquarters. They got to see the Force Control Room, Custody, a display by the dog section and the firearms range. Everyone was really excited and it was a great end to a fantastic year for the project. The children all looked very smart in their Junior Police Squad uniforms, and I would like to sincerely thank the PCC for supporting the project by financing them,” said PC Dimmock.
Looking ahead to next year, due to the success of the Junior Police Squads, the Commissioner will continue to support the project and work alongside the Force to extend its reach to more schools.
“I am delighted to announce that next year we will be extending Junior Police Squads to nine schools. I am also asking the team to see if we can provide a week-long half-term Junior Police Squad programme at Headquarters which will be funded by me,” said the Commissioner.
“We will be running the project again starting in September. It will operate in a slightly different way to this year. Instead of a full school year, we will run during a single term which will make it more condensed. Running it this way will mean we can spread the benefits to the maximum number of schools,” added PC Dimmock.
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway welcomed the Luton Junior Police Squads to Police HQ for a fun-packed final day.
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway joined officers from the Force’s Junior Police Squad at the Grange Academy, Kempston.
The Commissioner took part in a session warning pupils of the dangers of gang, knife and gun crime as they completed their Junior Police Squad programme.
“The staff at the Grange tell me this programme has been an overwhelming success. Not only have pupils learnt valuable skills around team work and self-discipline, but one pupil has even recorded the details of a crime which successfully led to police action,” said Commissioner Holloway.
“In addition to this, my Junior Police Squads have helped to build a real bond of trust and confidence between police officers and pupils.
“This is particularly important in the case of the Grange where pupils have truly benefitted from learning about hate crime towards those with disabilities and other needs, to help make them safer,” said the Commissioner.
The Grange Academy’s Deputy Head Teacher, Catherine Assink, said, “It has been invaluable to those who took part. During a recent Ofsted inspection they were able to demonstrate that, due to being part of the Junior Police Squad, one of the children felt confident enough to report a crime in detail to the police.”
Junior Police Squads have been funded by the Commissioner in pilot schools throughout the county and are generally run for pupils aged 11 to 12.
Sergeant Ben Dimmock, who works on behalf of Bedfordshire Police to run the Junior Police Squads, said, “When we first began the children were not focused, but now I feel really proud of them and how far they have come.
“They have had to learn a lot, but have all done really well. All the schools have been invited to Bedfordshire Police Headquarters to see the custody suite, dogs and firearms.
“There will be on-going support for the school and those old enough will be able to have a chance to look into the police cadets.”
“The Junior Police Squads have been so successful that I intend to back the creation of single term courses in many more schools next year to make sure a much larger number of pupils gain the benefits and, hopefully, to try to build a long-term legacy so that some of these pupils enjoy a future career as officers in Bedfordshire Police,” said the Commissioner.
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway has backed education charity, The Anne Frank Trust UK, to work with schools in the county to beat hate crime.
The programme, which has won plaudits from teachers and pupils alike, incorporates a range of workshops designed to generate debate and discussion on prejudice, hate crime and social responsibility, and promote positive attitudes.
“What really impresses me about the work The Anne Frank Trust will be doing in schools is that this is not a lesson for a day. The Trust creates Anti-Hate Crime Ambassadors to carry forward the message that prejudice and abuse are unacceptable every day of the year," said Commissioner Holloway.
“Bedfordshire has one of the most diverse sets of communities in the entire country and has, very sadly, been linked to the worst extremes of prejudice in terms of radicalisation and Right Wing Extremism.
“I hope this project will create a legacy in future generations to break down prejudices and create a genuinely more harmonious, single, community in this county,” said the Commissioner.
Workshops are delivered alongside tours of The Anne Frank Trust's exhibition: 'Anne Frank – A History for Today' and Holocaust survivor, and Anne Frank's posthumous step-sister, Dr Eva Schloss MBE, is also invited to share her remarkable story.
Anti-Hate Crime Ambassadors receive additional training from The Anne Frank Trust and raise awareness widely among their peer group about the dangers to society of prejudice and discrimination.
Bedfordshire Police Hate Crime Sergeant James Hart said, “The work of the Trust is so important for the next generation and community of Bedfordshire. We are therefore very encouraged that our partnership is now moving ahead to continue this important work.
“A lot of work has also been conducted in schools working with partners such as The Anne Frank Trust to improve knowledge and increase empathy amongst young people. Hate Crime and Dignity Ambassador Schemes have also been set up in Luton and Dunstable.
“Over the last 12 months these initiatives have assisted in the reduction in young people committing hate crime offences compared to last year. This has meant a 3% decrease in those aged 10-14 and 2% decrease of those aged 15-17.”
The project reached more than 2,000 young people in schools and other settings across Bedfordshire during its last round of funding including Mark Rutherford School, The Chalk Hills Academy, Goldington Academy, Vandyke Upper, Stockwood Park Academy, ACE Luton and Fulbrook Middle. The project also involved young people at TOKKO Youth Centre in Luton.
Val Ross, Eastern Regional Manager for The Anne Frank Trust, added, "We’re now actively engaging with schools in the area to launch the second year of the programme.
“It is something the community has really responded to, with high levels of engagement, especially among young people who have been particularly motivated and switched on.
"Being able to extend our reach and develop relationships with schools in Bedfordshire, has been very important to us and so worthwhile for all involved."
For more information about The Anne Frank Trust UK’s work, visit www.annefrank.org.uk or email Regional Manager Val Ross at ValR@annefrank.org.uk and to find out more about how Bedfordshire Police tackles hate crime visit www.bedfordshire.police.uk/tackling_crime/hate_crime_and_hate_incidents.aspx
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway has this week kept her word to put Greyfriars Police station on the open market.
The Bedford Community Policing team, which has been based there, is to operate from a brand new Enquiries Office in Lime Street for which Bedfordshire Police has just been granted change of use permission by Bedford Borough Council.
“I promised the people of Bedford more visible policing, in the very centre of the town. I’m delighted that the Force now has permission to create a brand new Enquires Office, just of the High Street, in the very centre of the shopping and working district, by day, and pubbing and clubbing area, by night,” said Commissioner Holloway.
“Greyfriars station was no longer fit for purpose after the custody suite moved to Kempston. It is also in a key location in terms of Bedford Borough Council’s Plan for the town.
“I am determined that Bedfordshire Police will receive maximum benefit from the sale, but we will also take into account the direction the Borough Council is taking. This is why its Chief Executive, Phil Simpkins, is being invited by me to be part of the panel which considers all bids as well as the fully independent Chair of the Police and Crime Panel, Paul Kane,” She said.
Greyfriars Station is being advertised by Lambert Smith Hampton next week, with a five week period for sealed bids to be submitted by 11th August 2017.
The proceeds of the sale of a police building have to be invested in other building work or equipment, such as new computer systems. Bedfordshire Police is actively seeking a solution to permanently replace the temporary Custody Suite, at Kempston Headquarters, with a permanent building.
Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway is calling on the county's horse owners to sign up to a new scheme to help police the countryside.
The new project - Horse Watch - will provide riders with training and distinctive branded clothing, provided by The British Horse Society, and organise equestrian patrols of areas which police find difficult to access, based on current crime reports for their local areas.
“Horse Watch is a fantastic idea to join forces with communities in the countryside to work with Bedfordshire Police,” said Commissioner Holloway.
"Horse riders are in a unique position to be able to go off-road to locations that police vehicles can’t get to and alert the Force to fly-tipping, off-road biking and anti-social behaviour.
“Because riders can get to out of the way locations of the type fly-tippers use and where motorcycles and quad bikes cause irreparable damage to crops, members of Horse Watch will be our eyes and ears on the bridal pathways of Bedfordshire,” she said.
Some 15 volunteers have already signed up to the scheme before its formal launch. They will receive monthly reports on crime in their area and work with Juliet Wright, the Head of the Watches for Bedfordshire Police, to direct patrols as a deterrent in these areas. They will receive training from the Force and will need to be vetted.
PCSO Juliet Wright said, “I am delighted to have the backing of the British Horse Society and to have already signed up 15 volunteers.
“Horse Watch will be a great addition to all of the watches who support Bedfordshire Police such as Speed Watch, Street Watch, Neighbourhood Watch and Dog Watch, now involving those riding in the county as well as those out and about walking their dogs.”
Any rider interested in joining the scheme should apply to the following email address; email@example.com
The Force has set aside £50,000, as part of her Police and Crime Plan, to pay for two targeted healthcare pilots to help officers who have been injured or who are recovering from illness.
If an officer has to wait for more than 12 weeks for a diagnosis through a consultation or a test, such as an MRI scan, they may qualify for them to be paid for by Bedfordshire Police and the scheme is also available for minor surgery, if success is virtually guaranteed.
Officers having to wait for more than 4 weeks for physiotherapy can also apply for paid treatment.
“I know very well, having had serious back injuries myself, that an acute injury can become a chronic one if left untreated and am determined this should not happen to our officers, causing them greater pain and distress as well as delaying a return to full duties,” said Commissioner Holloway.
“Ours is truly a thin blue line and I have to do everything I can to offer support to officers to get them back to full health as soon as possible,” she said.
The Commissioner introduced the first officer to have benefited from the Targeted Healthcare scheme, PC Carl Klein, who is back to work after his hernia repair operation was funded by the Force.
PC Klein said: “Being off on restricted duty is quite stressful. Without the injury, you’ve got the mental issues of being off and away from work and colleagues. Getting back to work was my primary goal.
“I do feel more supported with the Boost the Frontline project. It will help fellow officers get the support and treatment they need sooner to return to full duty, serving the people of Bedfordshire.”
Commissioner Holloway revealed that the number of sick days among police officers had fallen by 700, or 3.2%, since she took up her role last May, which is worth £100,000 in cash terms.
“But this isn’t just about the money. I have a duty of care to the officers of Bedfordshire Police and I take it seriously, as does the Chief Constable,” she said.
The Commissioner also unveiled a new arrangement brokered by her office with the University of Bedfordshire, to allow police on light and restricted duties to receive state of the art treatments in the Sports Science Department to help them to full health.
“The University has the most amazing facilities, which clearly I can’t afford to provide in-house through the Occupational Health Department. Our officers need specialist help with recuperation and the University wants to engage with the community, so this scheme will be of genuine benefit to us all,” said the Commissioner.
The University’s Head of School of Sport Science & Physical Activity Dr Andrew Mitchell said: “We are delighted to be working with Bedfordshire Police on research that we hope will improve the health, fitness and wellbeing of Police Officers and staff within the force. Through our research we hope to be able to give Police Officers and staff access to the help and support they need that may not be available to them within existing Occupational Health services and the NHS.”
The first two police officers, including one recovering from a serious riding accident, have been identified to benefit from the University’s specialist help.
Commissioner Holloway was joined at the launch of her Boost the Frontline initiatives by Bedfordshire’s Chief Constable. Jon Boutcher, the independent expert on policing, Simon Bullock, who conducted a one-year study for her called “Boost the Frontline” to recommend ways to make the most of the county’s police officers and help them to full health, when injured or unwell.
They addressed an audience of councillors from Bedford and Luton Borough and Central Bedfordshire Councils, town and parish councils, the National Farmers Union (who help the Force in a rural crime intelligence network, proposed by the PCC, connecting with Police online and via the digital phone service whatsapp), together with members of the Police and Crime Panel, local faith groups and charities plus representatives from the other blue light and Youth Offending services.
The Commissioner also delivered a summary of her first year in office which included the current uplift being delivered in the frontline of almost 10% by April 2018, through the recruitment of 96 officers in the last financial year and at least 100 this year, the creation of the Rural Crime Unit and collaboration with the Fire Service, including Police sharing Community Fire Stations at Barkers Lane, Bedford, and Ampthill, with Leighton Buzzard to follow shortly after a consultation to obtain best value for money for both blue lights.
For more information and to read the full One Year On & Boost the Frontline report please visit - Publications
Leagrave Police Station, on the High Street, was set to be offered for rental, as police in the town are now based at Luton Police Station, Bury Park and Futures House.
However, following positive reactions from youth leaders and the Leagrave community, the Commissioner has said she will happily turn it over to work on behalf of young people in the town if funding and a sustainable plan can be put together.
Commissioner Holloway said: "Sadly I don't have the funds from the Ministry of Justice to run Leagrave Station as a youth centre myself. But my whole message has been that police can't deliver every service on their own.
"There are multiple sources of funds in Luton, for example from the airport, Luton Borough Council and voluntary groups. I hold regular meetings of those holding the commissioning funds in the county and this is precisely the sort of joint-funding opportunity which I welcome.
"If we can, collectively, cover the costs of running the building and offer a safe space for young people to go, with meaningful activities taking place to divert them from youth violence and other harmful issues that young people are affected by, then I would whole heartedly support it."
The Commissioner is requesting that community groups submit plans to her as soon as possible. Otherwise the police station will have to be made available for general rental.
"I've said on social media that I'll keep an open mind and if there is the will and the money to use Leagrave Police Station for young people I will not stand in the way. Obviously the ideal would be to have the funds to fully staff the station for policing, but Bedfordshire Police has had to reorganise the way it works and the locations officers and staff work from to best effect. That is the only reason Leagrave needs a new future and I look forward to receiving youth-orientated proposals for the site."
Training started last autumn to increase the number of Firearms officers available across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire by 50 percent to boost the Firearms Policing Unit, which delivers the service as a tri-force.
However, she stressed this is a long-planned initiative and not a response to the recent terror atrocities in Manchester and London.
Commissioner Holloway, said: “The decision was taken to uplift the firearms capacity across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire in February last year and four courses took place in autumn 2016 for Roads Policing officers.
“Therefore, this is a well-considered, long-standing plan and not a reaction to the atrocities in Manchester and London, but suitable fore-planning. This imaginative way of providing extra Firearms officers by training up suitably skilled Roads Policing officers, has my full support.
“I am assured that there is no intention for them to replace firearms teams in day to day activity, but it does mean that the people of Bedfordshire have extra protection as a contingency to back-fill in the event that our frontline Firearms Units have to be deployed in a major incident."
The decision follows a successful scheme, where Roads Policing teams provide support as Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs), in Norfolk. It is a response to a direction to all forces from the Home Office to increase the numbers of Firearms officers, which was issued in 2016.
In a statement the Commissioner said: "I cannot begin to imagine the level of evil and cowardice that exists in the mind of an individual who seeks to target an audience largely compromised of children and their families.
"I would like to commend the emergency services for their quick response last night and their ongoing work in helping those who were injured.
"I am a mother of two and the horror and loss of the families of those involved in the tragic event in Manchester is indescribable. I want to offer my deepest condolences to anyone affected and to those who have lost loved ones. Everyone involved will continually be in my thoughts today, as the police try to piece together the events that unfolded last night."
A helpline has been set up by Greater Manchester Police for those concerned about loved ones who you may have in the area - please call the dedicated emergency number 0161 856 9400.
You can follow the latest news and updates from Manchester via @GMPolice on Twitter and Greater Manchester Police on Facebook.
For more information about reporting suspicious activity and remaining alert to the terror threat, visit https://act.campaign.gov.uk/.
On Monday 24 April 2017, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners issued guidance in respect of the restrictions that should be followed during the period known as Purdah (the pre-election period).
A full copy of that guidance is attached here.
In order to comply with the restrictions, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Bedfordshire has decided to minimise her involvement in any open public meeting involving politicians, either incumbents or candidates. The PCC has also decided to limit any media activity, either in person or on social media, during the purdah period.
The PCC will hold an open day, alongside the Force, for all prospective Parliamentary candidates to explain the work of Bedfordshire Police and the OPCC, and to answer any questions that candidates may have. Details on the event will be published in due course.
The PCC stated in her Police and Crime Plan that she would explore every possible opportunity of working jointly with the Fire and Rescue Service, and that she was determined to look at prospects of partnerships enabling officers to spend more time in communities and increase visibility in local areas.
As part of the increased collaboration between the two organisations, front line teams of police officers and PCSOs will co-locate with fire officers based in the Bedford Community Fire Station, and at the Fire Station in Ampthill.
Speaking at the launch event Commissioner Holloway said: "I am absolutely delighted by the official launch of the collaboration between the Bedfordshire Police and the Fire and Rescue Service. My absolute priority has always been to increase the visibility of the Force and access to officers. The co-location facilities in Bedford and Ampthill will help enable that, and are exactly what i promised in the run-up to my election, sharing fire stations where police stations have closed where necessary."
Co-locating the local policing team with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue's Prevention Teams at Bedford Community Fire Station and in Ampthill, is part of the collaboration the Police Community Safety and Licensing Teams, and will increase visible policing in the areas, offering excellent opportunities for increased levels of contact between the police and the Public, and enabling them to remain close to the communities they serve rather than having to return to Police Headquarters to complete paperwork.
The PCC continued: "Before taking over the role of PCC I said that I would strive to make the people of Bedfordshire's money work across the public purse, sharing facilities and supporting other services where possible.
"This pooling of resources and collaboration with other emergency services is part of the Blue Light Integration Project which is being introduced across the county to maximise resources, improve efficiencies and produce real benefits for everyone who works and lives in Bedfordshire."
Commissioner Holloway was joined at the collaboration launch by Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller, Cllr David McVicar, Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority, and Cllr Paul Downing (Ampthill Ward).
Commenting on the collaboration Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller said: "This is yet another area where we are collaborating with Bedfordshire Police and we are continuing to work with the Police on sharing facilities at our other Community Fire Stations. There are many areas like arson reduction where co-locating helps us exchange information and reduce risks to the public and improve public safety".
Following a spike in offences in Luton last month, Bedfordshire Police's Operation Fidelity team is working hard to identify key offending patterns and gather evidence to bring those responsible to justice which has already resulted in a spate of arrests. The Force has increased patrols in hotspot areas in and around the town, and continues to act swiftly on intelligence received about criminal activity.
Speaking at a public meeting held at Farley Community Centre, Luton yesterday (5 April), the PCC announced: "Domestic burglaries are taken very seriously by Bedfordshire Police. Every burglary is horrific for the victims and I won't ignore that in anyway, but I need to reassure people that break-ins are far less common than feared.
"The Force is on the case of burglars and working in some really imaginative ways such as visiting known prolific burglars who have restriction on their movements to make sure they are at home and not out burgling yours. As a result the net is closing in on them as we have seen in the very recent set of arrests."
Much of the work being carried out to reduce burglaries is by Operation Fidelity Bedfordshire Police's dedicated team, which works to disrupt, arrest and prosecute burglars. It focuses on high-risk locations providing advice to the vulnerable, and working with trading standards officers to target those who sell stolen goods.
Launched in 2015, Op Fidelity is Bedfordshire Police's dedicated response to burgalry and robbery, made up of officers from various areas of the Force to tackle these issues. Where they identify a spike in burglaries, they conduct Operation Cocoon visits to affected streets in order to alert residents to the offences and help provide crime prevention advice and tools. In addition, burglary response surgeries are often held in response to any increase in crimes in a particular area.
The Force recently secured a six year sentence for a prolific burglar who pleaded guilty to ten counts of burglary and one count of handling stolen goods. Leroy McKenna, of Burnham Road, Luton, was sentenced after committing a string of offences in Luton.
Speaking at the meeting in Farley, Bedfordshire Police Inspector Jim Goldsmith said: "Burglary is a priority for the Force, and want to reassure the public that we remain absolutely committed to apprehending those responsible. We understand the impact that burglaries have on victims and how distressing they can be - nobody has the right to enter someone else's home uninvited or under false pretences and make them feel unsafe. We are dedicated to increasing patrols in hotspot areas which I hope will help provide some reassurance to residents."
Police Officers are also issuing crime prevention advice to residents in areas where the perception of burglaries has increased, ensuring members of the public are aware of the steps they can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of crime.
Bedfordshire Police urges anyone with any information about burglaries in their area to call them on 101. The public's help is vital in helping find the people responsible, and they will act swiftly on intelligence received about criminal activity in the communities of Bedfordshire.