Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC comments on funding announcement as she formally opens the new Bedford Town Centre Police Enquiries Office
This will be the first opportunity to speak with Commissioner Holloway since the Government’s announcement on the funding settlement for all 43 police forces in England and Wales yesterday afternoon as she and Bedfordshire's Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, were attending the key Policing Performance Oversight Group (PPOG) meeting of police watchdog, HMICFRS, attended by the Home Office, College of Policing, National Police Chiefs Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners in London at the time.

Commissioner Holloway has done all that she believes was possible to influence the outcome for Bedfordshire Police including being congratulated by the Home Affairs Select Committee for the powerful evidence she gave on the subject in November as one of only 4 PCCs called as witnesses. She met with the Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, at Bedfordshire Police HQ, and on multiple occasions, both privately and publicly, and corresponded with him extensively - as with his predecessor, Brandon Lewis - and met with the Home Secretary and even Prime Minister when she was Home Secretary to put the Force’s unique funding case. She has also campaigned in the House of Commons for increased force funding on a cross party basis with all six of the county's MPs (meeting with Brandon Lewis).

The Commissioner had been asked to provide the Home Office with a report stating four things clearly; what are Bedfordshire's policing challenges, what resources are available to meet them, what is the gap between the two and what will it cost to close it. This was done, with the OPCC and the Force's Chief Finance Officer working flat out for several months to produce a report which went to Nick Hurd directly in October 2017, as well as to the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chiefs Council to help them with their overall funding submission for Policing as a whole. The document produced the evidence backing a case for £10 million a year in extra funding to pay for 300 Frontline officers and 80 detectives to bring the Force to a level comparable with those facing similar challenges including the third highest terror threat in the country, cross-over Serious Organised Crime from London, a growing serious youth violence issue and as the county where 40% of all shots fired in the (7 Force) Eastern Region are discharged. 

The Government grant available to Bedfordshire Police has been held at the identical level to last year but the PCC will have room for manoeuvre, for the first time, to be able to raise council tax above 1.99% without having to hold a referendum. This will not produce the £12 per household that has been stated - this is just an average for Band D homes. The amount will be below this for those below Band D, and slightly above it for the rest and will bring in just shy of £3 million for Bedfordshire Police on current calculations (£2.988 million).

The Commissioner is determined that if she asks the taxpayers of Bedfordshire to back the Force they must get a demonstrable and palatable return on their money. She will continue to support recruitment to Bedfordshire Police's Frontline to strengthen Community Policing, Response and the number of detectives, as far as practically possible. Her view is that, if she does the maximum to raise help from local taxation, even though the increase has been cleared for just two years, Government will have to deliver on its promise to address the overall funding position from then onwards, as it has committed to, in the next Spending Review.
 
Commissioner Holloway said: “Sadly I am still being promised ‘jam tomorrow’ as the Policing Minister pledged to me yesterday, and in the House of Commons, in reply to South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous, that the Government will look at Bedfordshire Police's historically unfair share of the national police funding ‘cake’ at the next Spending Review, in two years’ time. 

"This is a force which is making every penny count and producing results since my arrival which have genuine public support like the opening of the new Lime Street Enquiries Office in Bedford today, the Luton Mall office, the new Community teams with Local Priority Plans drawn up with residents and councillors, a much enhanced Serious Organised Crime offering, an outstanding international award-winning Community Cohesion team, a completely revamped and reorganised Force Control Room and Crime Bureau, exemplary Cybercrime Unit, hugely dedicated Emerald and CMIT specialist teams dealing with Rape, Domestic Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation and Response officers doing everything possible given the numbers to help the public when they need police most. The list could go on and on.

"I will continue to fight Bedfordshire’s corner. I have already asked the Policing Minister to back a case for payment for more Community officers in Luton from the £50 million new Counter Terror money, for example.”

A separate media release covers the Lime Street opening which delivers on a pledge in the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan to provide more visible policing and Community Policing Hubs.

If you are unable to attend this afternoon’s event, the PCC hopes you have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year and looks forward to working with you in 2018.