Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC invites councillors to join MPs for a shift with Bedfordshire Police to support the 'Give a Day to Policing' campaign
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is welcoming local councillors and Mayors from around the county to join MPs in a national campaign to ‘Give a Day to Policing” - spending time on the frontline and in force control to experience the pressures on the Force for themselves.

The ‘Give a Day to Policing’ scheme was set up by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) with the endorsement of PCCs and encourages police forces to invite local MPs to spend a day (or shift) with them between 20 July and 5 September to give them the chance to experience what life is really like on their local frontline.

Commissioner Holloway sees this as an opportunity to invite local councillors, their Mayors or leaders, to do likewise to see and hear at first hand what it is like to police the wards and areas they represent.

“It's just as valuable for our council leaders and members to have the same chance as MPs to spend a full day or shift with police officers and staff. This is particularly true since we need all our public representatives to have a far better understanding of the wider strategic picture of crime demand and challenges Bedfordshire, outside their own individual wards and constituencies. Sometimes people can be vocal critics of policing when this sort of opportunity can provide that insight by demonstrating that Bedfordshire Police doesn’t have spare officers sitting behind desks or languishing in canteens, who could be deployed on the streets - this is a Force at full stretch,” she said.

Among the first to take advantage of this invitation, now open to all councillors, was Mayor Paul Mackin from Shefford who worked closely with Bedfordshire Police’s Community North Team to resolve a series of issues relating to Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) in his own town last year and with the PCC to publicise the results at a packed meeting with local residents, with thousands of spectators online.

Mayor Mackin said he had decided to give a day to policing to improve his understanding of what Bedfordshire Police is dealing with county-wide. “I wanted to ‘give a day to policing’ because I, as Chairman of the Town Council and Town Mayor, often get asked questions about our police service; why they did not come when called, why we don’t have officers on the street and so on. I also find myself in the position of having to talk with senior officers and sometimes passing on complaints from members of the public. To have these conversations and to make sensible replies to the public I need to know what I am talking about. The best way of doing that is by spending time working with officers and control room staff,” he said. 

During his visit, the Mayor went out with officers responding to emergency calls in the north of the county and then spent time in the Force Control Room with call handlers answering 999 and 101 calls. 

“Today’s visit to the Control Room and the time spent with a Response officer was very interesting, a bit exciting and somewhat concerning. Sitting next to control room staff it was easy to see the volume of calls that come in, many of which are only a ‘police issue’ due to the fact that there is no other agency to deal with the problems of people who need help of some sort. The sheer number of calls prevents staff from being able to allocate them all to officers. Control room staff have to make fast assessments as to the correct action to take, then complete all the required records. I saw some frustration in the fact that they could not deal with all the calls as they would want to. Then, of course, some members of the public can be very rude and demanding.

“The time I spent with the Response officer started with a ‘blue light ‘run from Biggleswade to the centre of Bedford to back up officers dealing with a serious incident. This again highlighted just how short of police officers we are. It also meant that officers can be on their own for some time after an incident starts. The time with the Response officer was very busy. It was a case of going from job to job for the rest of the afternoon,” added the Mayor. 

“Overall it was a day well spent. It was clear just how much all the staff wanted to work in the jobs they had and how much they all enjoyed their jobs. I would recommend that all councillors and people in similar public posts should spend at least a day with a police officer,” he added.

“I’m absolutely delighted that Mayor Mackin gave up his time to join Bedfordshire Police for the day to find out for himself what issues officers and staff face. I make the argument regarding our low officer numbers to Government constantly and explain that I am doing so to our representatives but they can only really appreciate the gap between the huge public and crime demands in this area compared with approximately 1,100 officers to deal with them, when close up. The Force is looking forward to welcoming South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous, to spend his day with policing imminently and I hope his fellow MPs, whatever their politics, and those councillors most concerned about the future of policing, will join him. I will let the public know who took up this invitation in the monthly newsletter on my office website after the campaign has closed but we have an open door policy for public representatives and, if holidays get in the way, we’ll arrange a day here at any time,” said Commissioner Holloway.

Councillors and MPs can organise their own chance to ‘give a day to policing’ by contacting the Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner via email - or calling 01234 842064.