Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has welcomed her newly appointed Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth, in a formal ceremony to swear him into the role at Wrest Park, Silsoe (2 July 2019) as he prepares to take over from former Chief, Jon Boutcher, at the end of the month (from 31 July 2019).
Mr Forsyth, the former Deputy Chief Constable of Bedfordshire for the past 22 months, delivered an oath as part of the Attestation ceremony in front of colleagues, partners of the Force including from local councils, community and voluntary groups and family members.
The ceremony was witnessed by outgoing Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, and Bedfordshire’s Family Drug and Alcohol Court judge, Judge Patrick Perusko.
“I am absolutely delighted to welcome Garry Forsyth as the new Chief Constable of Bedfordshire and I am certain that he is the right person to continue to take the Force on its trajectory of continuous improvement,” said Commissioner Holloway.
“I was determined to offer his predecessor, Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, every possible support and have done so in winning a Special Grant from the Home Office of £4.571m plus confirmation from the Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, that this funding to cover the cost of fighting gun, gang and knife issues will be repeated in the next financial year. I have supported him in challenging a poor grading of Bedfordshire Police by the police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), when the Force was not an outlier among other forces for either victim satisfaction or crime recording at the time. We have presented together, shoulder to shoulder, in front of the inspectorate’s Policing Performance Oversight Group (PPOG) which applies exceptional scrutiny to a small group of forces. We have now been released from that process. Now I am wholly on side with Jon to oppose the impact of reduced numbers on police front lines which the College of Policing’s new mandatory degree programme would produce and this support will continue beyond his term as Chief Constable of Bedfordshire.
“As Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth, has my absolute assurance that he will be given precisely the same level of continuous support from me in his own role and efforts to continue the very notable progress of Bedfordshire Police.
“I am delighted to say that we have already worked very closely together over the past 18 months to agree a doubling of Police Constables in the Community Hubs around Bedfordshire, including a Sergeant and nine PCs who will be a trouble shooting task force to flex around the county to apply particular pressure to crack down on pernicious problems arising at neighbourhood level in future and that recruitment to fill these posts is currently underway.
“Bedfordshire Police will have 67 PCs in the Hubs, north and south, 15 at London Luton Airport, six in the Rural Crime team - Op Sentinel Rural - and nine in the special intervention team. In addition to this, there will be six Inspectors, 19 Sergeants and 44 PCSOs,” said PCC Holloway.
The new Chief Constable, from August 2019, Garry Forsyth, said: "I was hugely privileged and proud to be sworn in as Chief with colleagues, partners, communities and of course my family in the room. Everybody in that room has had a huge influence on the continued success and improvement of the force, and they will continue to have this under my leadership.
"Having worked here for nearly two years now, I can say with great confidence that Bedfordshire is an amazing force with incredible officers and staff, and it has made huge strides over the last few years with Jon Boutcher’s leadership and the Commissioner's support. I am excited to continue the improvements and work shoulder-to-shoulder with Commissioner Holloway to firstly secure the right level of funding for the challenges we face, and then to provide the very best policing service we can across Bedfordshire.
"I am delighted that the Commissioner shares my passion and commitment for increasing and improving our policing footprint in local communities. One of my main ambitions will be to ensure that we add Neighbourhood Policing to the growing list of things that people come to Bedfordshire Police to see as an exemplar of good practice."
The Attestation Ceremony was accompanied by the presentation of a silver sceptre, inscribed with the names of past Chief Constables of Bedfordshire, by outgoing Chief, Jon Boutcher, who joked that it was now so full that Garry Forsyth will have to have a new one made, to which Garry responded: "I think if we do it in tiny letters we can fit at least one more on."