Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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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.