You can view a digital version of the Bedfordshire Police Council tax leaflet here.
Part of my role as being your Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire means that I am responsible for securing the annual budget for Bedfordshire Police.
One of my focuses is to determine the local policing priorities for the Chief Constable based on listening to what local residents tell me. These priorities are set out in my Police and Crime Plan and I hold the Chief to account, on your behalf, for their successful delivery.
The priorities in the Police and Crime Plan reflect what local people tell me are important, which is why I created the consultation survey to hear from you about changes to the budget.
You will probably know that we are facing rising costs across the public sector because of inflation.
This means an increase to the Bedfordshire Police Council Tax (otherwise known as precept), is needed for Bedfordshire Police to maintain its current position and meet the costs of pay and price increases.
With higher costs for some everyday items and the impact of the pandemic affecting everyone, I know that any increase for 2022-2023 for some people will be hard. I also know, that you want to see more officers in our communities and our rural areas, taking more criminals off the streets and protecting our towns and villages. To do this, as well as maintaining other services, we will need to increase the precept.
This is the first budget of my first term as PCC and I have worked closely with the Chief Constable and his senior leadership team to understand the operational needs of Bedfordshire Police and the increase in demand that the force continues to experience.
Based on the analysis of crime trends and criminality in the county, there is no doubt in my mind that the Force requires additional investment, so that more criminals can be taken off our streets and put before the courts.
Amongst the survey, I asked if you thought these were important areas for us to direct additional resources into and I can positively say, the majority agreed with these directions, with 58% in support of the precept.
I have also welcomed support from the Police and Crime Panel to increase the precept. I want to reassure the public, that the use of taxpayer’s money is one that I take very seriously.
I am fully committed to holding the Chief Constable accountable for delivering on these priority areas and will do everything within my power to help him and his team deliver these for the people of Bedfordshire.
Thank you for your continued support in helping to make Bedfordshire a better place to live and work.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire
Recruit an extra 72 Police Officers
We know that visible community policing, working alongside our partners to problem solve, to stem the tide of anti-social behaviour, and to combat the crime that blights our towns and villages is the bedrock of policing in our county.
Improve the answer rate for 999 and 101 calls
Urgent investment is needed in improving how well Bedfordshire Police is able to respond to emergency calls. Our Control Room teams and call handlers do an amazing job, but the fact is that there just aren’t enough of them to meet the demand coming in day after day and night after night. This precept rise will allow the Chief to devote more resources into our control room, to harness new and better technology and to be more responsive.
Continue to prioritise drug related serious organised crime to dismantle county lines
Many of you will know about the enormous amounts of Class A and Class B drugs being brought into Bedfordshire each month. Drugs are a sickening feature of modern life throughout the country. The scale of drug dealing, drug use, and the serious violence that accompany these should worry us all. With this rise in precept, we can target more investment into the parts of policing that is going to make a significant difference in the activities of organised crime gangs in our county.
Increase our rural crime capability to protect our villages and farms from criminals who target our rural communities
The rise in precept will allow the Chief Constable to invest in our rural crime team and increase the number of officers who work with our farmers and landowners and those who reside in the tucked away homes that criminals target because they have no neighbours watching out for them.
Invest in the Professional Standards Department so that we continue to root out and deal swiftly with any corrupt behaviour within the Force
The public, rightly have very high expectations of policing and Police Officers. Sadly, a very small number, including here in Bedfordshire, have fallen far short of the standards expected of a serving police officer. This is why I am proposing that we put more investment into our Professional Standards Department which has responsibility for vetting and helping to maintain the high quality of integrity we all expect from Bedfordshire Police’s staff and officers.
Increase our victim engagement officers
The Chief Constable will be able to make permanent, the roles of Victim Engagement Officers who work with boys, girls, men and women – who have been raped or faced serious sexual assault in Bedfordshire. These victims need specialist, high quality care and support.
Our Police Force has gone from being one of the worst performing forces nationwide to now being 2nd and 6th at solving serious sexual violence and rape cases respectively.
I want us to improve or at least maintain this progress.