Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
01234 842208
PCC welcomes new Chief Constable of Bedfordshire in Attestation ceremony at Wrest Park

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."

 
...Continue
PCC launches new support service for those in mental health crisis at event to celebrate the women "who make Bedfordshire better" and raise money for the Luton hospital helipad
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway launched two high profile initiatives and led a celebration of the county’s inspirational women, at an event held at Wrest Park, Silsoe, on Tuesday (2 July).

The Commissioner launched her charity of the year - the £1.5m appeal to complete a much needed helipad at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, where vital time and precious lives will be saved if air ambulances can bring patients to the site, and take them straight down to the trauma centre, rather than relying on ambulance transfers from a nearby playing field.

Commissioner Holloway said: "The Luton and Dunstable team has had such an impact on me with its plans for the proposed helipad, directly above the department and its operating theatres, neo natal and cardiac units, which would serve the county as a whole, that I’m completely convinced that it would help to save young lives. 

“They only need the last £1.5m of what is now a £7m appeal, which is why I'd like to get them over the line and for funds from any joint-working to go to the appeal.

“That’s precisely why I’m making it my charity for the remainder of my term in office, and will be collecting at all our events on its behalf from now on.”

Consultant surgeon David Kirby, Operational Medical Director of the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, an emergency medicine specialist and a guest speaker at the event told the audience that he is seeing more and more victims of knife injuries, saying: “I'm sick and tired of having to dealing with young stab victims and it’s time to step up with the PCC to educate young people about the real consequences of knife carrying as being a victim is not a badge of honour. It leaves a trail of devastation for families left behind."

Among the winners at Bedfordshire Women’s Community Safety Awards was Rosann Taylor, the mother of Azaan Kaleem who lost his life as a victim of knife crime in Luton on 22 March 2018. She took home the coveted Woman of the Year Award. Mr Kirby was the consultant on duty on that day, but was unable to save the 18-year-old.

Mr Kirby said: “Had Azaan got to us sooner, we would undoubtedly have been able to save him.  A helipad will allow air ambulances to get victims to us as quickly as possible and for us to give them the very best chance of survival.”

The second initiative announced by PCC Holloway at the awards ceremony was the Mental Health Hub (MHH); an exciting new venture, jointly funded by the Commissioner and East London Foundation Trust (ELFT), which brings together mental health professionals and police colleagues in response to those experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Mental Health Hub has three core aspects:

- A mental health nurse within Bedfordshire's Force Contact Centre (the control room) to deal directly with callers who are in crisis and provide support plus tactical advice to police officers, as well as coaching and guidance for all call handlers in the management of mental health related callers.

- A mental health nurse within the Signpost Victim Support Hub, to also deal directly with callers with mental health issues and offer support and guidance to colleagues dealing with those affected by crime who are in crisis.

- Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) providing nominated officers and mental health workers for the most frequent users of emergency services, often as a result of high risk mental health related issues that may result in a service user being sectioned

“In practise, SIM means every one of the most frequent callers to police and other blue light services and users of those services will have a dedicated police officer and mental health worker, thanks to the agreement with the health service provider ELFT. Not only will this lead to a far better pathway to care for the individual service users but, with this support, SIM can drastically reduce crisis calls and other high risk events, including police deployments, ambulance call outs, A&E attendances and mental health bed admissions, with all the associated costs - both actual to the services and emotional to the person in crisis,” said the PCC.
 
“I’m always determined to make sure that those who use a service help to design it and this has been no different with those who’ve actually been sectioned repeatedly when in crisis, helping us to create SIM from scratch,” she said.

Superintendent Jaki Whittred, Bedfordshire Police's lead for mental health, said: “Although the SIM model has been operating within other forces, we believe that by aligning it with placement of the mental health nurses, this is an opportunity for a truly integrated response, with the key aim of early detection, prevention of mental health crisis, reduction in use of police time when dealing with MH related calls, and improving the experience for the service user.”
 
The Commissioner then announced the awards, created and funded by her office and delivered in partnership with the Bedfordshire Women’s Network to commemorate and create opportunities for women in the county who promote community safety and victim support and celebrate them through the hosting of an event with the network which helps advise the OPCC, Policing and public services. 

“This event ran for the first time last year and I’d arranged it to not only pay tribute to all those incredible women working in our county but to mark the centenary of votes for women. In fact, we received over 7,000 pages of nominations which was a wake-up call to me that no such regular event to recognise their work existed. The OPCC now intends to make this an annual event,” said PCC Holloway.

Eight awards were handed out, voted for by the officers and staff of Bedfordshire Police.
  • Volunteer of the Year – awarded to Delphi Ellis for giving her time to the voluntary sector to support, empower and help women cope and recover. She raises awareness of projects to support women.
  • Education Specialist of the Year – awarded to Cat Magee for implementing safeguarding measures into Lincroft Academy as it changed from a Middle to a Secondary school and introducing a computer based programme that enabled a full picture of all safeguarding and well-being issues the school population faced and allowed Senior management to effectively plan as they developed into the Secondary status.
  • Offender Rehabilitation Award – awarded to Michelle Crook for her commitment and support of ex-offenders and helping to reengage them back into society, employment and training.  She has worked with more than 500 ex-offenders in the past 12 months.
  • Community Group / Individual Award – awarded to Rumi Chowdhury – for her 25 years’ work at Luton Rights, the past ten of those as centre manager. She helps those in need and the vulnerable to access the information they need and runs an advice surgery at CYCD to help older, vulnerable adults.  She also trains and develops volunteers.
  • Blue Light Award – awarded to Caroline Goates for her dedicated work for the Fire Service in creating a network of blue light services in the county and beyond. Caroline is the “go to” person for the fire and rescue service.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – awarded to Fiona Chapman MBE for her many years of service to Bedfordshire. She was High Sheriff of Befordshire in 2001 and was awarded an MBE in 2002 for her services to local politics. She was also the Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire in 2003. She has worked with both the police and fire authorities and chaired the Police and Crime Panel for its first five years. In addition, she found time to work selflessly for charity, for the church, and as a school governor.
  • Police Officer or Police Staff Award – awarded to Detective Constable Catherine Layton for her consistent, positive vision of detectives in the “24 Hours in Police Custody” programmes and for inspiring many women to consider policing as a career. She has also provided excellent service to victims of crime during her many years of exemplary service.
  • Woman of the Year Award – awarded to Roseann Taylor - Roseann’s only son, Azaan Kaleem, was murdered in Luton in March 2018 and since that time Roseann has worked tirelessly to educate and campaign against knife crime and the consequences of carrying a knife, working with young people at risk of exploitation from gangs. She has appeared on television and has participated in meetings with senior police and politicians. Roseann is currently working through a restorative justice process with one of the men jailed for her son’s murder.
A special award was also given to the team behind the Mental Health Hub for its work in bringing the idea to life.

Contributions to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital Helipad Appeal can be made at 
justgiving.com/fundraising/ldhhelipad

The Women’s Network is a group devoted to improving the working and living environment of women across Bedfordshire Police and our wider partnership of professional across Bedfordshire.

 
...Continue
Police and Crime Commissioner welcomes Government pledge of a second grant to pay for forces Guns and Gangs team after it chalked up 148 years in sentences

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has secured a second promise of funding from Government in another Special Grant to pay for the work of Bedfordshire Police’s specialist guns and gangs team – Boson – working to combat serious violence across the county.

 

Policing Minister, Nick Hurd MP, wrote to PCC Holloway to promise: “We intend to make decisions on Special Grant applications around October 2019 but in the interim I can provide you with the assurance that we will be providing funding for Operation Boson.”

 

He was replying to the PCC after she provided him with a portfolio detailing the exceptional work of the Boson units, which resulted in 148 years in prison terms for gang members and those using guns and knives over the last year.

 

Last December, Commissioner Holloway secured a Special Grant of £4.571m to pay for the work of the Boson team over the past three years in fighting an unprecedented rise in gang, gun and knife crime. As a result, Bedfordshire Police was able to create a second specialist Boson team in the north of the county as, originally, the unit was based only in Luton.

 

“It’s no good simply holding out a hand to ask for more cash without proving that it was a wise investment for the Minister and Home Office to make. Here in Bedfordshire, I’ve been able to list case after case of Boson bringing gang members to court and achieving win after win in terms of jail sentences.

 

“Now, to assist with my financial planning, the Minister isn’t asking me to wait until October, when most Special Grant bids will be considered; he’s seen the proof for himself of the difference the last grant made and is helping me to help Bedfordshire Police continue to deliver on the outstanding results so far,” said the PCC.

 

“I’m absolutely delighted to have assurance from the Home Office that the Boson team will again receive extra funding for 2019/20. It’s been well publicised that Bedfordshire has seen an increase in knife crime and we’ve seen the tragic waste of young lives in both Luton and Bedford in the past year. I’ve also sent the Minister details of these terrible events so that it’s not just a case of considering statistics but the real human cost of these crimes.

 

“Tackling knife crime and serious youth violence is, of course, a huge challenge, but the Force continues to rise to it. In 2018, Boson achieved a total of 148 years in prison sentences for offenders – and it’s important we put those causing the highest harm to our communities behind bars - but preventative work with our young people is also vital. I have also funded genuinely hard-hitting theatre performances in schools across Bedfordshire, delivering key messages to pupils aged 11 and concerning the dangers of being dragged into county lines drug dealing which is so often associated with stabbings or gun crime. This year, we will deliver the same sort of no holds barred production specifically concerning knife crime as I’ve seen and heard the impact these performances made on pupils for myself,” she said.

 

The PCC intends that her Special Grant bid will not be limited to prosecution of gang members who use weapons alone, given the associated challenge of sexual exploitation that so often accompanies gang membership and grooming.

 

“It’s my intention to also request funding for Bedfordshire Police’s key child sexual exploitation operations – both current and historic – and some preventative funding too, to fund various anti-gang initiatives. These issues are high risk, represent a high demand on police and have a huge impact on families and communities. To ensure we can continue to tackle them properly, we need significant investment,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

Boson is Bedfordshire Police’s unit dedicated to tackling gun and gang activity and serious youth violence which was first formed in 2012 to tackle escalating violence in the Marsh Farm and Lewsey Farm areas of Luton.

 

Now the units deal with gang, gun and serious youth violence related issues across the whole county, having launched a team to focus on the north of Bedfordshire at the beginning of 2019. The team was intended, initially, to run for three months, but is now permanent thanks to the Special Grant of £4.571m from the Home Office.

 

The annual cost from the Boson units alone is £2m and associated sexual exploitation cases have cost a further £1m to police.

 

“While the bid for work we are already having to do to deal with all this criminality is likely to be approximately £3m, if we were funded to take key preventative actions, especially including the child sexual exploitation work, I’m advised that we would need up to £1.5m on top of that and, believe me, my Chief Finance Officer and I will be presenting all the evidence to back the whole claim to the Home Office this autumn.

 

“Any way you look at it though, this is very good news indeed for Bedfordshire Police,” said the PCC.

...Continue
PCC pledges to help parents to be and children before they are 10 to avoid knife and gang crime with new service

Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway pledged to create a new service to reach children in crime hotspots before they are even born - and in schools before they are 10 - to avoid knife and gang crime, reaching out to older children with the help of doctors, at the launch of a public report into her third year in post, held at the University of Bedfordshire’s Bedford Campus (on Monday 20 May).

 

Commissioner Holloway announced that she is to develop the Early Pathways service which, like those she created to help victims and ex offenders to access all the relevant support services in the county - Signpost and Direction - will also create an online directory of all quality activities and services in the county to divert kids away from crime to help parents, teachers, youth workers and children themselves, who will be involved in its design. She will also be starting work in schools with local hospitals to reach older children.

"I am going to work with the quite outstanding Operational Medical Director of Luton and Dunstable Hospital, David Kirby, and Bedfordshire Police to give presentations to children concerning the reality of knife carrying, which he sees at first hand since David and his colleagues find themselves working quite literally at the sharp edge of this terrible problem in the A&E Department, trying to save young people with stab wounds,” said the PCC.

"I've also informally proposed development of services with the hospital to help parents to be in crime hotspots, during pregnancy, paid for by the OPCC and partners, which I hope will assist the hospital’s helipad fund and want to brainstorm the ways in which we could deliver this so that we help parents secure a better future for their children, not patronise them.

"I’m absolutely indebted to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital and the attitude of its Medical Director and senior team for their openness to work with me and the Force to do all that we can to prevent children from ending up in A&E with life-threatening - and sometimes life-ending - injuries.

Late last summer, at a community meeting organised by the Youth Offending Service, residents told me that they thought this would be something that could make a difference and this is the chance to take this forward and develop a full service for children and families.

 

Bedfordshire Police - through the work of ACC Jackie Sebire, the national police lead and the ongoing work of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, with the Policing Minister and Serious Violence team at the Home Office, has just won the opportunity of £1.38m from the Home Office to deal with serious violence.

 

“I see this as the perfect time for us to use a portion of the funds otherwise dedicated to policing enforcement and intelligence gathering - which are Jackie’s areas of responsibility - to arrange training sessions, ideally backed by a hard-hitting theatre production by Alter Ego, the incredible actors who’ve been touring our schools for me to show those who are 11 and over the dangers of being entrapped in county lines drug dealing.  This time we need to reach younger children too as we’re getting to our young people too late with these messages,” said the Commissioner.

 

"The Luton and Dunstable team has also had such an impact on me with their plans for the proposed helipad, directly above the department and its operating theatres which would serve the county as a whole, that I’m completely convinced that it would help to save young lives. They only need the last £1.5m of what is now a £7m appeal, which is why I'd like to get them over the line and for funds from any joint-working to go to the appeal. I have also made it my charity for my term and will be collecting at all our events on its behalf from now on, said Commissioner Holloway.

 

Speaking to an audience of guests including Community Safety Partnership members, the Chief Officer of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, councillors and residents, the Commissioner also spoke of progress made over the past twelve months with Bedfordshire Police against her Police and Crime Plan for the county.

Two particular areas she noted were the doubling of PCs in Communities, as part of a three year recruitment of up to 400 officers - 160 of them this year, of whom 60 will be extra posts - and the launch this month of
Direction to help ex offenders source the services they need to lead a life away from crime. The Direction service consists of an online directory - directionforbedfordshire.co.uk -  and a freephone call line of specialist helpers on 0800 917 5579 with support for former offenders including help with housing, accommodation, work and benefits, rebuilding family relationships, drug and alcohol dependency and building better health.

Commissioner Holloway and Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, the national policing lead on Serious Violence, also outlined the plan that will be put by the PCC, with the ACC’s advice, to the Home Office this week to secure an opportunity for £1.38m from the Home Office. The plan includes knife wands first proposed by the PCC to the Force for officers engaged in Stop and Search; to minimise impact on young people who are searched to maintain confidence in police and to prevent injury to officers from knives or contaminated hypodermic needles, during the process. 

ACC Sebire said: “Our operational priorities across the county for the year ahead reflect our determination to clamp down on serious youth violence by suppression of criminal activity, with targeted patrols and the proactive targeting of identified areas and people, through carefully harvested intelligence and investigation.

“We will use equipment and technology, such as wands to detect knives when searching a suspect. This will allow us to find weapons faster and will further protect those officers who may otherwise have come into contact with a sharp object, such as a blade or a hypodermic syringe, during the course of their duties.”

Commissioner Holloway also outlined the on-going health-screening collaboration with the University of Bedfordshire which will see the first ever report on the health of an entire UK police force.

The Commissioner explained: “The University has a world class reputation for its Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, why would we not want to make best use of that?  The students are in great of need work-related experience and by offering a top-to-toe health screening to every officer and staff member, worth around £200 per person, this will allow us to gather information about the holistic health of the Force. A UK first.”

Contributions to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital Helipad Appeal can be made at 
justgiving.com/fundraising/ldhhelipad


A copy of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Third Year Report is available to download here.

...Continue
Bedfordshire Police DCC picked for new Chief role by PCC after open process watched live by public

Bedfordshire’s Deputy Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth, has been chosen as the candidate to become the county’s next Chief Constable by PCC Kathryn Holloway after one of the most testing and transparent selection processes in policing - subject to confirmation by Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Panel. 

Mr Forsyth emerged as the front runner across all sections of the tough assessment day, which included a presentation of his vision for the Force in front of a live audience including members of the Bedfordshire workforce, the Police Federation, volunteers from Neighbourhood Watch, councillors and faith and community group representatives; after volunteering via Eventbrite. The event was live streamed on the PCC’s Facebook page, with both the online audience and audience in the room contributing assessments of the strengths of the three candidates and areas for development.

Mr Forsyth said: "I am absolutely delighted to be selected as the PCC's preferred candidate to become the next Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police. It was an extremely challenging and demanding process with strong competition from two excellent chief officer colleagues, so to come out as the successful candidate is a hugely proud moment for me both personally and professionally."

 

The selection day opened with interviews with the PCC, assisted by Britain’s most experienced Chief Constable - Andy Marsh of Avon and Somerset Police - Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Chief Paul Fuller, the politically independent Chair of the Police and Crime Panel Paul Cain and Bedfordshire housing developer Steven Smith, representing the business community. It was followed by two demanding mock media interviews on an emerging scenario; as a live down the line interview by earpiece to an unseen interviewer and a recorded television interview, face to face.

 

“I’m absolutely delighted to select Garry as my choice to be the next Chief Constable of Bedfordshire, subject to confirmation by the Police and Crime Panel, as the law requires. He was outstanding throughout the entire process and it's hugely important to me that the public and the Bedfordshire Police workforce know that their next Chief is being selected entirely on the basis of his own merit.

 

“That’s why this had to be such an open and transparent process, with the public involved and the widest possible audience, all able to assess the candidates for themselves. A Chief Constable needs exceptional social skills - hence the one to one interviews at the start - and these days needs to be able to think strategically and assess business cases, which is why a representative from the business world was essential. He or she also needs to be able to communicate with all our communities equally, as a credible spokesperson, which is why the media testing was also necessary.

 

“Garry was the leader when marked by all of the assessors in the first two stages, as well as in feedback from the public and partners when judged as a whole, but all the candidates will get the benefit of taking part as they have been promised a Personal Development Plan which I have offered to discuss in detail with them afterwards, including with the new Chief Constable,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

The appointment is now subject to a confirmation hearing before the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel, with the date to be set following a report on the selection process from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Once confirmed, the successful candidate will succeed current Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, who is stepping down in July.

 

“It's a real privilege to be successful in the selection process for Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police and I am excited at the prospect of leading this fabulous Force to continue the success we have seen in recent times," Mr Forsyth said.

 

“There is still a lot to do, and I am committed to working closely with colleagues across Bedfordshire Police, our communities and with partners to strive to deliver the policing service our residents want and deserve.”

 

“For me, the privilege has been to represent the public in Bedfordshire to select the candidate who I genuinely believe will build on the incredibly strong foundation of improvement, public engagement and diversity in our workforce of Jon Boutcher and I am so looking forward to working with Garry as we move forward,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The entire selection process was subject to independent assessment of its fairness by Montell Neufville of Bedfordshire’s Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel who will submit a report to the Police and Crime Panel. Mr Neufville attended all stages, including a Familiarisation Day which had been offered to all candidates.

...Continue
PCC calls for more protection for frontline officers after C5 documentary

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is backing the Force’s front-line police officers following the broadcast of Channel 5’s “Police Code Zero: Officer Under Attack” - featuring an incident involving two Bedfordshire officers - as figures show that on average in the UK a police officer is attacked every 20 minutes.

The programme showed the officers being assaulted while on duty in Silver Street, Bedford, in January, as they dealt with a drunk and abusive man in possession of a knife, who had been ejected from a pub, late on a Saturday night. The man who assaulted them pleaded guilty at court to two counts of assault on a police officer and was fined £120, while the officers received victim surcharge payments of £50 and £75 respectively, designed to be paid by those responsible for a crime.

“The programme showed the stark reality of what our police officers are facing on the streets of Bedfordshire every single day and it’s wholly unacceptable. In my view, an attack on a police officer is not the same as an assault on any other member of the public, because the police are standing on the front-line between those who keep the law and those who want to undermine it. That’s why an attack on an officer should be met with the toughest penalty possible,” said Commissioner Holloway.

PC Hayley Hunter, who was one of the officers assaulted, said: “It is only afterwards, when the adrenaline has worn off and you play things over in your mind that you think, ‘Wow, what did I just go through? Could he have used that knife against us?'

“I don’t think it mattered to him that I was wearing a uniform, or that I was a woman.”

“I know Hayley well and the bitter irony of this assault is that, as a member of the Community Cohesion Team, she is out in our county every working day building better relationships and trust in policing. Awards of less than £100 as compensation after an attack like this, and that on Hayley’s colleague, are derisory.

“It’s why I called on a cross party basis for support for extending the prison term for assaulting an officer in the execution of their duty last year. Since this is now still only a year, despite a change in the law, it’s still wholly insufficient in my view,” said Commissioner Holloway.

In November, the PCC won a Home Office Special Grant for £4.571m to cover the unprecedented cost of fighting gang, gun and knife crime in Bedfordshire.

Commissioner Holloway said: "Policing is facing more severe demand than ever before. Our officers do an incredibly difficult job and I wouldn't be doing my own if I didn’t consider the protection of our officers, in order to protect the public, as an absolute priority.

“It's a stated priority in my Police and Crime Plan to look after our officers to the best of my ability, otherwise, how can they be expected to be able to protect people and fight crime across this county. It’s why I’ve had discussions with our judges about penalties in their courts and am seeking to do likewise with our magistrates."

...Continue
PCC launches one stop shop for ex offenders to set them up to succeed not to fail on leaving prison

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has launched a one stop shop service for ex-offenders to literally give them Direction to the services that can support them to change their lives, on leaving prison.

 

The new service - called Direction - is a countywide initiative to help support former offenders to help lead a life free from crime offering both a single online home of services including help with housing, accommodation, work and benefits, rebuilding family relationships, drug and alcohol dependency and building better health; it consists of a website listing quality support services across the county - at directionforbedfordshire.co.uk - and a free and confidential call centre of specialist advisors, available on 0800 917 5579. 

Direction has been set up with the help of former prisoners themselves, including those who have served lengthy ‘life’ terms, to advise on what support opportunities should be included.
 

“It’s no good me sitting in my ivory tower as Police and Crime Commissioner, deciding what former prisoners want and need to be able to stay out of crime and how this should be expressed. I’m so grateful to former prisoners for their help in shaping the website - directionforbedfordshire.co.uk - in terms of every word written and every service that has been included,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

“Our work with former offenders is vital to the success of the Direction service – they've been through the ‘revolving door’ to prison and now want to turn their backs on crime. They can only do this if meaningful help is provided – and every individual’s needs are different.

 

“The Freephone number will provide really valuable extra support for people who've previously been offenders, but now want to look to the future and a life outside crime. Not everyone has access to a computer or the internet, but it’s easier to make a free telephone call. 

“Those answering the calls are specialists in their field but, crucially, they're not from either the police or probation services. Almost every ex-offender has more than one problem requiring support and this is an attempt to look at them as individuals and not statistics."

 

Direction is backed by a pledge from Jobcentres to provide a representative in every one of 13 in Bedfordshire, and across the border in Hertfordshire, to see an ex-offender to advise on benefits and work opportunities on the same day as their first visit.

 

“If an ex-offender leaves prison without access to any income it’s setting them up to fail and return to crime as a survival mechanism. I want to set them up to succeed so I’m also indebted to the Department of Work and Pensions for arranging this with us,” said the PCC.

 

The call centre will be available from 9-5 on weekdays. The Commissioner has funded a full time co-ordinator for Direction to assist its call handlers, and the freephone line is run through the charity YouTurn Futures, which already has extensive experience of working with prolific ex-offenders who want to turn their lives around, for the OPCC and Bedfordshire Police.  

 

Elvis Shaw is a former offender who now volunteers with Reactiv8, which works with prisoners at HMP Bedford both before and after release. He said: “Direction has everything under one umbrella including employability, housing, everything that somebody coming out of prison is going to need. It’s a great support and if you want to change, the help is there.”
 

Direction has been modelled on the successful Signpost service established by Commissioner Holloway in 2018 to support victims of crime, which also features an online directory of available services alongside a call centre team of specialists.

Bedfordshire-based criminal justice charity YouTurn Futures is working in partnership with the Commissioner to deliver the scheme. Following its launch, Director Stuart Smith said: “Direction is an innovative approach to reducing reoffending across Bedfordshire. It provides a central hub for statutory, voluntary and community agencies to work together for an ex-offender and deliver a joined up approach in tackling the drivers of offending behaviour in order to reduce reoffending and make Bedfordshire a safer place.”
 

Direction Hub Lead, Neill Waring, said of the launch: “We want to help former offenders to find the right professional knowledge and networks for them, and can also help concerned parents, partners or friends to find support for their loved ones.”

The Direction website hosts a directory of all the key agencies and organisations in Bedfordshire that offer support and advice for ex-offenders, their families and friends. The website can be accessed at: https://directionforbedfordshire.co.uk/.

The specialist call centre is available on 0800 917 5579, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

...Continue
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner to involve the public and live stream Chief Constable selection to make it fully open and transparent

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is inviting members of the public and the Bedfordshire Police workforce to quiz candidates hoping to become the next Chief Constable of as part of a ground-breaking bid to open up the interview process.

 

Candidates for the Chief Constable role will be questioned by an audience made up of officers, staff, partners and the general public and the event will be live streamed to anyone wanting to watch it as it happens online.

 

The public panel will make up part of a rigorous selection process awaiting the candidates during their assessment day on 23 May. The successful applicants will also undergo interviews on a one to one basis with the PCC, the politically independent Chair of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel Paul Cain, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Paul Fuller, who works closely with the Force in collaborative projects and sharing of community fire stations, and successful local businessman and house building developer Steve Smith, who will be representing the county’s business community and will examine each candidate’s strategic vision and financial planning capabilities.

Candidates will also have to deliver two media interviews in response to an unfolding emergency scenario, as part of the event at the University of Bedfordshire’s Bedford campus.

 

Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway is responsible for appointing the new Chief Constable to replace Jon Boutcher who is standing down in July. Commissioner Holloway said: “My aim is for this to be the most transparent recruitment process for a new Chief in the history of Bedfordshire Police.

 

“The Chief Constable clearly sets the tone for the organisation and the way it delivers its operations across the county. It’s absolutely vital that we recruit the right leader who is able to meet these challenges and drive the organisation forward in a way that reflects the culture we insist on in relation to tolerance and cohesion across every single community and putting victims genuinely at the centre of everything we do, in a force that's fit for the 2020s.

 

“The new Chief must also be able to work with, and lead, those from every department across the Force and maintain relationships with our key partners countywide. I want to see how they interact with our own residents and employees to ensure that our new police leader is comfortable answering not only to me but to the people they serve.”

 

Each candidate will have 10 minutes to present to the audience to explain the ways they intend to secure and build on Bedfordshire Police’s improvements and current service, before taking 10 minutes of questions, selected at random from those present. The presentations will start at 2pm and run until around 4pm to meet the diary needs of as many key partners taking part as possible.

 

Any member of the public, or Bedfordshire Police itself, wishing to book a place can do so via this Eventbrite link.  (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/chief-constable-public-selection-process-tickets-61483884955)

...Continue
OPCC invites nominations for awards ceremony to commemorate the women who make Bedfordshire Better
 The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire will be welcoming women from across the county for an afternoon celebration. The event will take place on Tuesday 2nd July 2019 and will be an awards ceremony, celebrating women throughout Bedfordshire who have or are making it a better county.

We are welcoming nominations for women in the following categories and would encourage those who feel they know someone worthy of the award to kindly complete and return the nomination form to: pccevents@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.


 
Voluntary Award
An individual who has volunteered their time in the support of others.
Young Persons Educational Award
An individual or team that has worked with young people to educate/support them to ensure their safeguarding.
Health Carers Award     
An individual who is dedicated to looking after those with health care needs.
Offender Rehabilitation Services Award
An individual or group who have assisted in the rehabilitation of an offender.
Community Group Award
A team from the community that has given a particular focus to safeguarding
Blue Light Awards
A team within the blue light arena that has particularly supported safeguarding.
Victims Services Award
An individual or team that has provided excellent service to victims.
Bedfordshire Police Officer or Staff Award
An individual officer or Police staff member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for safeguarding.
Life Time Achievement Award
An individual who has a long history of supporting people in the safeguarding arena.
Survivors Award
An individual who has used personal experience to help others.
Woman of the Year Award
Giving recognition to a woman who has inspired and influenced other women.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 












Nomination Form for ‘The women who make Bedfordshire better’ Awards

The closing date for nominations is Sunday 9th June 2019. For more information or to enquire about sponsoring/ attending the event, please email pccevents@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk or call the office on 01234 842208.

 
...Continue
PCC singles out 'truly exceptional' club for members with special needs in Dunstable, during a visit and links them to Bedfordshire Police

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, visited Dunstable’s specialist youth club and adult day centre for members with Special Educational Needs to link the outstanding centre with the Force for training and support to protect the most vulnerable.

 

Commissioner Holloway toured the Kids in Action youth club for under 18s, and The Base, call in centre for older members, on Wednesday 24 April 2019 at the Apex Business Centre, Boscombe Road, Dunstable. The centre, which is unique in Bedfordshire, includes leisure facilities such as a cafe, soft play area, dance floor, computer games club and screening room. The building works as a drop in centre for adults with special needs between 10am and 2pm every Wednesday and as a club for children, including a Saturday youth club and weekly disco.

 

“I genuinely consider this centre is truly exceptional as it allows both children and adults with special needs to be themselves and enjoy the freedoms and leisure activities that others take completely for granted. Too often, those with special educational requirements and disabilities are excluded from the sheer enjoyment of all of these facilities. The staff are quite outstanding and, even on the basis of a single visit, it was absolutely clear that they know every member as an individual and welcome their carers too,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

“Not only that but I spoke to several families who find the centre to be absolutely invaluable as it links them to other families facing similar challenges around disabilities from autism to cerebral palsy. As a mother myself, I can only begin to imagine how isolating it must be if you don’t have somewhere like Kids in Action and The Base to entertain your children, at any age, or to meet others who are coping with the same issues,” she said.

 

The Commissioner explained the work that her office and Bedfordshire Police are doing to show those running organisations for vulnerable people the signs to look for to avoid their members and clients being exploited by criminals; including the practise of “cuckooing” - in which drug dealers groom vulnerable individuals into considering them as friends, before invading and taking over their homes for dealing.

 

PCC Holloway also spoke of the work of the force to safeguard vulnerable people online as part of the national Prevent programme, to protect them from radicalisation of any kind, in which groups also look to befriend and influence those who appear isolated.

 

“Kids in Action and The Base are currently looking to make a £650,000 investment in buying, rather than renting, their building; they tell me they receive no handouts from any government organisation and provide a superb service for their members of every age, which is not being provided elsewhere. My office is to be involved in fund-raising for them, as a result of our visit, through a member of my staff who already works as part of a social group which raises funds for children.

 

“I cannot think of a more deserving case and hope local community fundraising groups across the county, and particularly those in Dunstable, really get behind an organisation which is demonstrably changing lives for the better,” she said.

 

Paul Bowen-James, who runs Kids in Action and The Base, said the centre is already visited by special needs groups from as far afield as London boroughs, as nothing similar seems to exist elsewhere.

He said: “We have come on leaps and bounds since I established the charity 23 years ago. We now welcome around 250 members every week and continue to go from strength to strength.

 

“I was delighted to welcome Commissioner Holloway to the club and really enjoyed spending time with her talking about what we do and are trying to achieve.

 

“There is a lot of crossover between ourselves and the police and areas where we can help each other and work together, which I am hoping we can all do off the back of this initial meeting.”

...Continue
PCC hops into Flitwick to keep promise of meeting with the council and public to discuss plans to double PCs in Community Policing countywide

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner attended a packed meeting organised by Flitwick’s Town Council, despite having broken her foot - apologising for sitting throughout as she answered questions on funding, Community Policing and her plans to increase the frontline with the highest single year of recruitment for over 10 years. (Tuesday April 9 2019.)

Commissioner Holloway had been invited to the event by Flitwick’s Mayor Phil Thompson and the PCC’s presence helped bring in a capacity crowd to the meeting at Flitwick Library in Coniston Road.

Questions centred on her planned uplift to the frontline of Bedfordshire Police, which is currently among the most stretched in Britain, given the crime challenges she explained to the audience, including the third highest terror threat nationally and serious organised crime groups, involved in drug, gun and people trafficking, assisted by the major road and rail network traversing the county and the presence of an international airport at Luton, which the Commissioner proceeded to link to recent and current police activity in Flitwick itself.

"I don’t take it lightly at all when having to increase council tax by £2 a month, but what you, and every single community I visit, tell me is that you want more police officers and the most visible policing possible. That’s why, although the increased money from Government to Bedfordshire Police for 2019-20 did not even cover stand still pressures of inflation, pay and pensions in this financial year, I was determined to deliver a change that you would find palatable. That’s why we will see the highest recruitment to Bedfordshire Police this year than for over a decade, of 160 officers, of which 60 are brand new posts," said the PCC.
 

"We will be doubling the number of PCs in seven Community Policing Hubs across the county, when including a trouble shooting task force - the Neighbourhood Intervention Team - of a Sergeant and nine PCs, who will arrive in an area with a pernicious crime problem at neighbourhood level to help stamp it out."

The PCC was accompanied by the Constable covering the local area, based at Ampthill Community Fire Station, PC Aaron Dagley, who confirmed the information she gave the audience concerning the discovery of a ‘cuckooing’ address in the small town, which had been taken over forcibly by drug users from a vulnerable householder, and how police had got on top of the problem.

The Commissioner also praised the North Bedfordshire Community Hub as a whole in relation to the way it dealt with an address linked with drug dealing in Ivel Way, Flitwick, with a closure order obtained from magistrates this week to protect the community from Anti Social Behaviour and disorder, centred on the address.

PC Aaron Dagley went on to deal with questions from residents and discuss his activity in relation to nuisance youths, of whom 20 were recent subjects of Anti Social Behaviour Orders as a result of the work of PC Dagley and his team, in conjunction with Central Bedfordshire Council’s ASB wardens, in a move to encourage parents to much more actively monitor what their children are doing in the town.

The PCC also answered questions about difficulty reported by a resident in supplying CCTV evidence of vehicle theft to the force and confirmed this would be looked into, if details were given to PC Dagley, as all public interactions with the police, via the Control Room or in person are both recorded and retained. 

...Continue
Jon Boutcher to stand down as Bedfordshire Chief Constable

Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher has announced he is stepping down after more than five years with the force.

He has 35 years’ police service, spending 28 years as a detective with the Metropolitan Police. He worked on the Regional and National Crime Squad, targeting serious and organised crime groups with links to international criminal networks. He was also part of the Met’s Flying Squad before becoming a leading counter terrorism senior investigating officer dealing with numerous national and international operations.

He joined Bedfordshire in 2014 and took over as chief constable the following year.

He said: "I have been incredibly fortunate to have had such a wonderful policing career, but being Chief Constable of Bedfordshire has been the highlight – without question.

"The force is fantastic and it has been a privilege to be chief constable during this period which has seen us improve across the board. Bedfordshire as a force had previously faced criticism over many years, that is no longer the position. We have gone from being under special scrutiny and supposedly the one of the ‘worst’ performing forces in the country according to Her Majesty Inspectorate of Constabulary, to no longer being subject to that additional HMICFRS scrutiny. In fact we now have positive HMICFRS reports, with forces now coming here from all over the country, and indeed overseas, to see the brilliant work we are doing.

"One of my proudest achievements is that we are one of the top performing forces when it comes to recruiting from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. The work we are doing to attract candidates to ensure we are reflective of the communities we serve has been held up as best practice and is something I’m utterly passionate about. Policing is the most incredible profession and it should be ‘open’ to people from all communities, we must represent the people we serve. That is just one example of the super work the force is doing, pushing boundaries, using innovation and striving to provide the very best service possible.

"Policing remains hugely underfunded and Bedfordshire Police provides the most profound example of this as a force with the most challenging and complex demands normally only faced by metropolitan forces such as the Met, West Midlands and the like, and yet the funding gap has still not been addressed. I recognise recent efforts by the current Home Secretary and Policing Minister to reverse a long standing lack of police investment however I would remind everyone that it is the first responsibility of government to protect its citizens, policing must be properly funded. The consequences of previous budgetary decisions are now being felt by all of our communities, this must be addressed.

"I have made great friends across all of our communities and I’m hugely grateful for the support from partners and the public and everyone in the force. Bedfordshire has a wonderful mix of cultures, it is county rich in difference and we enjoy the best of relationships between the force and those we are here to serve. I have made lifelong friends, and over the last five years the force has built the strongest of relationships with those we are here to protect.

"The officers and staff of Bedfordshire Police do a wonderful job on a daily basis and I’d like to thank each and every one of them for their support during my time here.

"I shall certainly be leaving with a heavy heart, but comforted by the knowledge that I’m leaving behind a super talented team who will continue to drive Bedfordshire Police forward."

Mr Boutcher will continue leading Operation Kenova, an historic investigation into a number of alleged murders, kidnaps and tortures in Northern Ireland.

His last working day with the force will be on 5 July, and Police & Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway will be responsible for appointing his successor.

Commissioner Holloway said: "It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the outstanding Jon Boutcher over the last three years. His values are part of the DNA of the force and he leaves a strong legacy.

"I believe he will be recognised as an exceptional chief in the history of Bedfordshire Police including his genuine focus on boosting diversity in recruitment.

"We enjoy what I believe is the strongest professional relationship of any Chief and PCC - we’ve stood together on funding and challenged criticism of the force. I know that whatever he’s doing, wherever he is in the world, he’ll continue to stand up publicly for Bedfordshire Police.

"He has provided exceptional leadership of the force, plus the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Joint Protective Services, and the regional response to organised crime and counter terrorism.

"He has established a culture within the force and a personal leadership style where the buck stops with him that I will be looking to when recruiting his replacement - a true leader linked to our communities and committed to community policing."

...Continue