Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC marks record-breaking year for Bedfordshire Police and sets out her priorities for 2019
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has pointed to the achievements of officers, Special Constables and police staff in a record breaking year for the Force in 2018, as she set out her own priorities for the year ahead.

The PCC pointed to over 8,600 arrests and the recording of 55,700 crimes across 2018 by the Force which has just over 1,100 officers to serve a population of approximately 670,000 across the county. 

Over 108,000 999 emergency calls and 287,000 101 calls for non life-threatening matters were taken. Bedfordshire Police dealt with 448 knife-related crimes and 102 incidents involving guns. Some 1,769 missing people were dealt with. Over 30 properties were closed as a result of Anti Social Behaviour by their occupants, as a result of the work of Community Hub officers.

“These are truly extraordinary figures for a force the size of Bedfordshire Police and reflect a huge achievement for every officer and member of staff.  I hope that if any caller is unable to be visited by a police officer straight away, the public will take a moment to reflect on why each and every call has to be assessed for the degree of threat, harm and risk which the incident represents in order to determine whether an immediate response can be sent or not as Response officers will be dispatched to those incidents which are a genuine life-threatening matter as a priority.

“Bedfordshire Police is a very small force compared with the type of crime challenges which officers have to deal with day after day and around the clock but these figures don’t lie. This is the reality of the response which they are delivering, frankly against all the odds, and the public should both be proud of them and give them every possible support,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“This includes making sure that every call to 999 is a genuinely life-threatening emergency or a crime in progress, such as a burglary where the offender is in the property, as I’ve sat in the Force Control Room when someone has called up to complain about the quality of their take-away before!” said the PCC. 

Bedfordshire Police’s Special Constables, who give their services for free but who are trained by the Force and hold exactly the same powers as regular warranted officers, also marked up an impressive record of 44,404 hours of duties.

“This is incredible for such a small force to have Specials who contribute this amount of time. We simply could not do without them. I would like to urge anyone who thinks they could spare 16 hours a month to join up. Bedfordshire Police will train you and, even if you don’t feel that a full time police career lies in your future, imagine what this says to a future employer or university about your trustworthiness and character. You might even change your mind, in which case you have had the chance to try out the job first,” said Commissioner Holloway.

Details about regular recruitment or joining the Special Constabulary can be found on the Force’s website: bedfordshire.police.uk

The PCC also set out her own priorities in 2019:-

 * The recruitment of 160 new officers in this financial year.

 * The creation of a new Sexual Assaults Referral Centre in a reassuring, non-medical, environment with separate facilities for adults, teenagers and children.

 * The launch of a one stop shop to help prevent the cycle of re-offending, with an online hub of services to direct ex-offenders and a call centre of specialists backed by dedicated advisors on benefits and employment in Jobcentres across the county.

 * Emphasis in the PCC’s new Grants Commissioning process on projects to help prevent gang and knife crime and on early intervention, before the age of 10, to give children living in crime hotspots better life chances.

“Every community I speak to wants more police officers and the unique Special Grant of £4.571m I won before Christmas, when combined with the new Policing Settlement of £8m, means that Bedfordshire Police will not only be able to continue to recruit but that we can recruit 160 new Police Constables this financial year. We can also continue the battle against gang, gun and knife crime,” said Commissioner Holloway. 

“It’s also a priority for me to establish a new Sexual Assaults Referral Centre which is fit for the future and which provides dedicated areas for victims according to their own ages and needs as it’s common sense to me that, for example, a 16-year-old is not going to feel comfortable and reassured in an area with toys for very young children around them at a time when they have been through a highly traumatic experience. 

“I also want to coordinate response to those who have offended but who want to go straight by providing access to all the support services they may need to achieve this in a single place. This will consist of an online directory of those services with a translation facility as well as a team of call centre specialists plus help, that has now been agreed with my office, in every one of the county’s Jobcentres. My staff, working with the Force and our partners such as the National Probation Service and the Community Rehabilitation Company, aim to launch this in the Spring.

“We’ve all been horrified by the level of serious youth violence throughout 2018 and, while the rise in Bedfordshire has been below the levels seen in the capital, given the emphasis placed on prevention by Bedfordshire Police and those organisations I’ve funded in communities, we need to do more and this is one key priority of my current grants process.

“I’ve also been influenced by the work of the University of Cardiff in providing proof to the Home Office and all PCCs of the life-long effects of what they call ACE experiences - Adverse Childhood Experiences - including domestic abuse, crime, drug and alcohol abuse and deprivation in the home of a child under 10 combined with their evidence that this can be mitigated by very early intervention to support those children. As a direct result, I’ve appointed a head of Early Intervention to work with projects coming to me through the grants process this year to help in this vital area,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The PCC’s grants process for 2019-20 is now open but the closing date for applications in January 11 2019. Details can be found on the website - bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk - in the Campaigns and Initiatives section.

“I favour applications where more than one organisation is funding the work to help victims or promote community safety as then we’re genuinely jointly invested and working together effectively but I’m also absolutely prepared to do as I did last year and work with groups from within communities who have never applied for a grant before in their lives but who have a fantastic idea or drive to make a difference such as the Right Time to Shine youth club and recording studio in Lewsey Farm in Luton and Channitta Lendore who works with young people to divert them away from gang violence, following the death of her brother Isaac,” said the PCC.

“Don’t hold back. Please contact my office if you need help and the directions are there on the website as well as the way to apply,” she said.