Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, last night (Thursday 11 January) addressed the residents of Shefford to discuss policing issues within their town.
Around 171 residents took the time to attend the meeting at the Shefford Town Memorial Association Hall, filling the hall to capacity. It was the first public meeting where the Commissioner has been live streamed, which enabled over a thousand further residents to watch online and submit their questions.
“I was delighted to go to Shefford with the Deputy Chief Constable Garry (sic) Forsyth and the inspector for the area, Insp. Nick Masters, to give the people of the town the facts over recent highly successful police action to address Anti-Social Behaviour in Shefford.
“Naturally we could not go into details over the arrests made in November and December as we want individuals to process through the criminal justice system and, if found guilty, face the full weight of the law for their actions.
“Suffice to say that there is a very full police presence in Shefford, more extensive CCTV coverage regarding which I have to thank Central Bedfordshire Council for their assistance and, as Insp. Masters told the audience, we know who the potential troublemakers are and they cannot evade the consequences if they offend again,” added the Commissioner.
Attending the meeting alongside the Commissioner was Deputy Chief Constable Garry Forsyth, who spoke to the residents about the priorities for the Force at a strategic level and the importance of long term problem solving as a preventative measure.
“It was a great opportunity to meet the residents of Shefford and explain our current position as a Force to those in the hall, but also to the many that watched live online. The Force has worked extremely hard to deal with the issues experienced in Shefford, but I strongly believe that our continued focus should be on sustainable, preventative, problem solving measures that enable us to work with partners and communities ensuring issues are dealt with before they escalate to more serious offending and criminality,” said DCC Forsyth.
During the meeting, a number of people from the audience submitted questions regarding whether or not the PCC would look at increasing the police’s share of the Council Tax.
“The audience want more frontline police in this county and seemed unanimously to back my proposal to raise council tax by a pound a month for Band D homes to do so. I’m asking as many people as possible to make their views known on my website before February 1 to give me a clear mandate to do so,” said Commissioner Holloway.
The Commissioner’s Office is currently running a consultation on change to the precept to boost the frontline. For more information or to submit your comments please visit our website - http://www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/2018-01-pcc-launches-consultation-on-change-to-precept-to-boost-the-frontline
Questions put to the Commissioner ranged from the £12 annual rise in council tax and Government funding issues to the input of police into housing development plans in the county.
Commenting on the meeting, Mayor Paul Mackin said, “I feel the meeting last night was very positive and constructive. The people of our community had the chance of a face to face meeting with the Commissioner and asked the questions that have been troubling them over the last year.
“All the people I have spoken to since the meeting were impressed that the Commissioner and very senior police officers took the time to sit down and explain the situation regarding funding and resources. I believe the whole event was worth the effort and I would encourage other Town and Parish Councils to set up similar events. There is nothing like face to face meetings to settle people’s fears,” added Mayor Mackin.