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Office of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Annual Business Conference 2024

Annual Business Conference 2024


Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye
Bedfordshire Police Force Strategic Oversight ACC John Murphy
Federation of Small Business Suzanna Austin
Eastern Region Cyber Resilience Centre Inspector Jim Stevenson Head of Cyber and Innovation
Criminal Justice – Sentencing and new legislation Jessica Hart Senior Crown Prosecutor
Eastern Region Special Operations Unit – Counter Terrorism Jenny Massie Security Advisor Manager
Bedfordshire Police Force – Male Violence Against Women and Girls in the workplace Superintendent Rachel Glendenning
Bedfordshire Police Force – Focus on Business Crime & New Technology Chief Superintendent Jaki Whittred

Presentation Slides

You can access the Annual Business Conference 2024 slides here. If you would like to request the slide deck in an alternative format please contact us

Questions and Answers

Is there really a need for a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) as the Chief Constable (CC) is paid to run the force and is fully responsible for his decisions. Could the money for the PCC be better spent?

The PCC’s role comprises of more than policing and tasking the Chief Constable. There appears to be a misunderstanding about the role, however the PCCs role involves national and regional responsibilities. Years ago, there was little scrutiny of police forces however PCCs have brought in more scrutiny providing transparency and openness and ensured that Chief Constables are held to higher standards. As PCC I can speak to individuals within the force e.g. officers regarding their concerns/issues and escalate these directly to the Chief Constable to ensure matters are resolved.

What is the target response time for a business who calls 999 for a crime in progress?

There is no target response time. All information that comes into the force is risk assessed based on investigation, vulnerability and a response is determined. ‘Immediate’ which are emergencies have a target response of 15 minutes of the call being received by the Force Control Room (FCR).

Why are your members not reporting these crimes to their local police authority?

a) Is it just a loss they reluctantly accept or a perception that the police will not respond / investigate?

b) Has any work been done regarding your members and their views on police response times?

Reason 1 – It takes up a lot of their time and they value their time at more than reporting, there is a cost analysis that is conducted.

Reason 2 – Some businesses do not see the importance/point of reporting, and confidence has been lost however this barrier is being broken down.

Reason 3 – They have deterred a crime from happening therefore it is not reported, and the force does not know where the crimes are being reported.

Reason 4 – The is a perception that if an issue that is raised, there may be reputational damage.

If these cybercrimes cannot be prosecuted, are they investigated?

Yes, we might not be able to get the criminal however we can disrupt their activity. If phishing emails are reported, it is analysed daily, and alerts can be distributed to avoid further disruptions to the country.

How do large organisations protect themselves such as banks, local police authorities, prison service, NHS etc?  

Large organisations have professional cyber security specialists and chief information security officers who protect the organisation.

Small organisations – It is their responsibility to ensure a risk analysis is conducted and adequate cyber security systems are implemented. You do not have to have an expensive cyber security specialist to protect your systems, it can be non-technical intervention’s such as ensuring passwords are strong.

Do you endorse cyber liability insurance as often they pay ransoms and have relationships with some established hacking groups, I am reliably informed.

12% of SME’s have cyber insurance, and ransoms have an international reputation that they will try to sell on. Ransomware gangs tend to keep their word because big insurers keep a record of which ransomware gangs did what they said they would when the ransom was paid. 

During Jessica’s presentation, she mentioned that being banned from a store previously was high culpability but why is not considered when attending or dealing with repeat offenders or dealt with as a burglary?

b) What would be the recommended best practice to achieve this as a retailer?

Theft from a shop, including when there is a banning order in place will not be charged as burglary because the CPS has legal guidance that determines what charges should be brought.

In different situations more than one charge may be relevant and guidance is used to determine what those should be.

Legal guidance states, when shoplifting has taken place and offender has been banned it is not appropriate to charge burglary because the sentencing powers are sufficient for the judge with a theft charge, charging burglary will not result in a longer sentence.

They will be sentenced based on the nature on the offending. Shoplifting is appropriate because there will be a faster court production and the outcome will be the same, however if violence is used during a shoplifting incident, this will be charged as a robbery.

If you are giving offenders banning orders, this is because they are repeatedly committing the offence and a criminal behaviour order can be applied for.

All legal guidance is available at About CPS | The Crown Prosecution Service.

Does counter terrorism include the multiple types of activism (Animal Rights / Climate activist’s etc) and do you actively seek out potential victims and advise them of strategies to protect themselves?

No, this is about threshold and definition of terrorism. When looking at terrorism it must meet the definition under the Terrorism Act (2000) and activism falls below the threshold. It is important to work closely with the respective forces if there is support that is required.

Counter-terrorism security providers are promoted through the Protect UK platform. There is a generic mailbox where business and organisations can submit their queries. We also have certain sites that we engage with as they have certain regulations they are complying with, and we have an obligation to engage.

Does Liaison exist between yourselves and GCHQ to prevent Cyber-attacks of a terrorist / activist nature against a specific group of people / industry?

There is a focus on physical, person and information security. Within the Eastern region the counter terrorism security advisors sit under the counter terrorism side of the eastern regional specialist operation unit and cyber sits under the regional organised crime unit. We link in with colleagues, and we work closely with the National Protective Security Authority who work closely with the National Security Centre.

Does the UK have any international partnerships to tackle fraudsters that are based overseas, If not, are there any barriers preventing this?

Yes, there is a lot in conjunction with The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and police forces in Europe, and anyone willing to work with us to tackle the problem. The problem is that a huge percentage of cyber-attacks in this country come from countries such as China, Iran, North Korea and Russia which makes it very difficult.

Jaki spoke about evidence such as CCTV but if CCTV is not available is the case dropped or are other routes of investigation taken?

If there is no CCTV evidence, we do not drop the case if there are other lines of investigation e.g. witness statements or individuals that can identify offenders, however CCTV is the most common form of evidence amongst shopliftings.

What are the forces plans for Safer Business Action (SaBA) Month which takes place in March?

Superintendent Hob Hoque is leading our response, and we will be out engaging and working with the OPCC regarding a lot of activity, we can also send out information about what we are doing.

Jaki mentioned root causes contributing to criminal lifestyles, what are the most important or prevalent root causes that you see?

b) What can we do to support them and deter them from a lifestyle of crime, especially cyber criminals but also first-time offenders, young criminals and repeat offenders of serious crime?

There are multiple root causes, such as drug and alcohol issues but this is also related to adverse childhood issues and mental health issues which can result in people leading a life of a criminality and anti-social behaviour. 

We cannot be everything to everyone, but it is important for us to work with the right partners to be able to deal with prevention effectively. 

What is the first line of response for cyber fraud and who do you contact when you are a victim of crime?

An enhanced business reporting service will be launched this later this year. If you require a response, the National Cybersecurity Centre checklist for small businesses includes writing a response plan. There are some commercial organisations who will provide the service on trade. The small business federation provide advice and support, and it is important to have a business continuity plan.

Diverting young people from crime, what is normally used and how effective are they.

There are several things Bedfordshire participates in such as the Violence and Exploitation Unit (VERU) who have recently asked for a review of how the organisation works which will need about £300,000 to be able to work with young people, divert them from crime, and keep them safer. The PCC pledged and completed visiting 100 schools. The PCC spoke at Barnfield College about making good choices, knife crime and gangs. There are officers who go into schools and engage with young people, and young people who have signed up for police cadets which is a great way of making young people aware of how they can also help support the police.

Recently the launch of the new A&E navigator programme with partners, which will enable us to engage with young people in A&E when they reach the crisis point. This will be further rolled out into schools and custody.

Annual Business Conference 2024 Publications and Reports

Protect UK – Protect UK provides business and the public with counter terrorism support and guidance to effectively protect and prepare

Protect UK Logo

National Business Crime Centre – Retail Crime Action Plan

National Business Crime Centre Logo

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