Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has commended the outstanding work of Bedfordshire Police and partners in the face of an unprecedented year in her Christmas message to the force as she marked £6m of funding those working with her office to support communities and victims of crime.
The £6m has included funding from the Special Grant from the Home Office, funding from the Ministry of Justice, Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) and the Home Office’s Safer Streets Campaign.
“In response to the pandemic, Bedfordshire Police has responded quickly to changing government legislation and guidance, while minimising enforcement wherever possible, and has supported communities across the county as policing style had to adapt to these national changes, ensuring the people of Bedfordshire have been looked after and kept safe.
“Across the force, all teams of officers and staff together with the volunteer police service the Special Constabulary and all other volunteers have worked closely together to maintain a high level of service, frequently working in challenging and difficult conditions and this is particularly true of our officers who have had an unprecedented year of success in cracking down on serious organised crime, pandemic or no pandemic.
“The most recent operational highlight happened just last Thursday (17 December) when around 180 officers and staff were involved in raids on nine addresses, resulting in eight arrests and the seizure of almost £100,000 in cash after a 2am briefing. This is what the public don’t see but what effective ‘visible’ policing actually looks like,” said Commissioner Holloway.
The specialist guns, gang and knife crime unit, known as Boson, made notable arrests and seizures throughout the lockdown period. Highlights include the following: -
* At the end of April, the team secured a five-year prison sentence for a, 21-year-old man from Luton after he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and possession of a firearm. The man was arrested during one of the team’s many warrants.
* Earlier in the year, Boson secured a 27-and-a-half-year sentence for a 22-year-old man after he pleaded guilty to five charges included attempted murder.
“My office has worked hard to support partners through the pandemic and where we’ve won funds we have provided additional support to those charities and organisations that are essential to help and support communities, especially to help those escaping Domestic Abuse. This year I have won or issued just over £6m pounds to support services across the county and as I continue into 2021 and conclude my role at the May election I will continue to fight for every penny Bedfordshire needs,” said the PCC.
Charities and partners of the Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner had to adapt working practices during this year: when face-to-face meetings and support was impossible due to lockdown restrictions they found ways of calling or otherwise helping their clients, including via smart devices issued to victims of Domestic Abuse that were supplied by the PCC’s fund.
“This has been a very tough year both emotionally and financially for every single person within the community, however we've also seen many extraordinary examples of communities rallying around each other; from truly wonderful examples such as Sir Tom Moore in his remarkable achievement raising millions for the NHS to organisations and individuals across the county arranging food deliveries and parcels for thousands of their vulnerable neighbours - everyone deserves a huge thank you for stepping up to the plate and I hope they all have the Christmas they have definitely earned,” said PCC Holloway.