Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
01234 842064
PCC calls for local residents to support Safer Streets Project and join a new Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is calling for the residents of High Town in Luton, to join a new Neighbourhood Watch Scheme for their area and get involved with the Safer Streets Project.

In July, as a result of successful bids submitted to the Home Office’s Safer Streets Campaign by her office, the area of High Town in Luton was one of two successful bids funded, the second being Midland Road in Bedford. High Town has been awarded £448,150, which will be spent in areas such as enhancing street light, CCTV coverage, new gating for alleyways to prevent burglaries, fly tipping and on street sexual exploitation and bespoke crime prevention advice for both residents and businesses. 

The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme will enable the community to join the project and be a key factor in helping the community feel safe and united in the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour. Members of the scheme will be asked to work in pairs at a safe distance (unless they are from the same household) to patrol their community and maintain a presence to discourage crime and pass on vital information which will help Bedfordshire Police and Luton Borough Council to identify areas of concern.

“The funding awarded to tackle community safety is a huge win for my office and the local authority, which is why we must do everything to ensure every penny is spent effectively and has a lasting impact on the area. It makes perfect sense to me that we work closely with residents and business owners who live and work in the area every single day, to join the project and influence how the money is spent and how we move forward to create lasting change and community safety.

“The community of High Town coming together is a fantastic way to help us achieve this goal and I hope many residents come on board. They are the eyes and ears on the ground. They know the area best and can provide vital information to the project and of course to the police,” said PCC Holloway. 

Luton Neighbourhood Enforcement Team will also be supporting four days of action in October and conducting patrols within High Town, to identify environmental crime, such as fly tipping.

Sergeant Sarah Hudson from the Luton Community Policing team at Bedfordshire Police said: “We work very closely with all of the Neighbourhood Watch Schemes across the county, who are invaluable in providing us with vital information and insight to crime taking place in our communities.

“These groups are a fantastic way of working together to ensure your community is a safe and great place to live.

“I would encourage anyone who would like to support and protect High Town to get involved in the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme in this area and unite with other local residents.”

Cllr Jacqui Burnett, portfolio holder responsible for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “The council already works in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch in other areas of the town and this has proven to have a positive impact. The scheme is not only really important in helping prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, but also supports with enhancing the community engagement and improving social capital – the social networking and bonding within an area because it allows residents and businesses to come together and share what is happening where they live and work.

“This is a really positive step as it will support the other initiatives taking place under the Safer Street Fund, in really making sustainable changes in High Town.”

If you are interested in being a part of the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme in High Town, please email: SSFCoordinator@luton.gov.uk
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Signpost service for victims of crime supports almost 1,500 in Bedfordshire during the pandemic

Signpost - the service introduced by Bedfordshire PCC, Kathryn Holloway, to support victims of crime across the county - has worked with 1,427 victims from the beginning of lockdown (23 March to 30 September 2020).

Victims are referred into the Signpost service by police officers and partner agencies after being assessed as requiring extra support and self-referrals from the public are also welcomed on a confidential freephone number 0800 0282 887. Signpost also offers a route to appropriate high quality support organisations, depending on the crime type, to those affected by a crime who are not the main victim, such as parents, children and partners.

Specialist Victim Care Co-ordinators (VCCs) answer the helpline, not police officers and it is not necessary to have reported a crime to police to access help. 

PCC Kathryn Holloway, Chief Constable Garry Forsyth and former Chair of the Police and Crime Panel, Paul Cain, taken at the launch in 2018. Commissioner Holloway said: “The impact of crime isn't just emotional, our expert VCCs also help victims deal with practical problems such as damage to property, by working with partner agencies on the victim’s behalf to get repairs done and make properties secure. They quite literally signpost them to help accessing compensation for criminal injuries as they understand the journey through the Criminal Justice system and have vital contacts within it.

“Signpost’s Care Coordinators aim to contact a victim of crime within 24 hours of it being recorded by Bedfordshire Police, by letter or phone, and the service was recognised this year by the police watchdog - Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) - as “notable practise” to be recommended to all police forces.

“If someone doesn’t want to speak to a Care Coordinator and wants to refer themselves directly to specialist counsellors or a support charity, they can find the information on the website which backs up the call centre, at signpostforbedfordshire.com,” said the PCC.

Signpost has also been supporting victims of crimes linked specifically to the pandemic, such as those experiencing ‘romance fraud’ who have been duped out of savings to extend a loan to those meeting them on dating websites. Signpost staff have been urging members of the public - through their social media campaigns - to reach out for support if they suspect they themselves or a family member, friend or colleague is being targeted or has been affected by this crime and would benefit from talking through the options available. 

Simon Powell the Head of Victim Care at Signpost said: “As an essential service provider, I am passionate and proud that we have been able to give support to Bedfordshire’s victims of crime and that Covid-19 has not got in the way. We have worked hard to still be able to provide telephone care and support while re-arranging working conditions to meet the restrictions of the pandemic. Our partners have faced similar issues and we are very grateful for their continuing efforts in delivering such care to those who need it the most.”

If you have been affected by a crime, Signpost offers free and confidential support to victims in Bedfordshire, whether it has been reported to police or not and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred. Contact 0800 0282 887 or visit www.signpostforbedfordshire.com for further information.

“Please reach out to those who may not see this publication or view updates and campaigns on social media to make them aware that Signpost is here to help anyone affected by crime in this county and is waiting for their call,” said Commissioner Holloway.
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PCC says education is the key to reducing hate crime in Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is recognising Hate Crime week (10-17 October) and the impact that these crimes have on vulnerable people by sharing how she has supported education in our community at a time when hate crime is on the rise.
 
Bedfordshire has seen over 950 recorded hate related incidents across Bedfordshire since the beginning of the year. Bedfordshire Police has responded by taking positive steps to ensure reporting this crime is easier for the victim, which includes third party reporting. If you have been affected, or know someone else who has been targeted, and would like to report it to the police, please ring 101 or access assistance through the online service at www.bedfordshire.police.uk. If you prefer to report hate crime through a different agency than the police service please visit the website and search for Hate Crime, where there is a list of third-party organisations who can take the initial report.
 
The law states ‘A hate incident occurs when the victim or anyone else believes it was motivated by the offender being hostile based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation. The hate incident becomes a crime if it crosses the boundary of criminality.’ This definition is what the dedicated Hate Crime Prevention Team at Bedfordshire Police use to uphold their duties.
 
Bedfordshire Police’s Hate Crime Lead, Sergeant Car Perri, said: “Hate crime can have a disproportionate affect on victims and the wider community, than other crimes of a similar nature.
 
“Hate crime figures are increasing year on year as confidence to report grows.
As a Police service nationally, this year has seen unique challenges with divided opinion and changing community dynamics. As a force we have to be responsive to community concern and deal with incidents with empathy, professionalism and efficiency.”

PCC Holloway commissioned the Anne Frank Trust to work in schools across Bedfordshire to challenge prejudice and discrimination, creating Hate Crime Ambassadors among the pupils in each school receiving their training, which is based on the life of Anne Frank and her death in a concentration camp during World War II.
 
“It’s frankly appalling that some seventy-five years on from the Second World War the message that hate and prejudice are based on ignorance and are not just words but the root of an insidious idea that can build to destroy lives still needs to be landed. In our schools, teachers and youth workers need to challenge the unkinking assumptions that lie behind mindless hatred of others who are seen as in some way ‘different’ given our common humanity.
 
“This is particularly crucial in Bedfordshire which has seen both extremes of extreme right wing and jihadist movements, both of which are based on the hatred of ‘different’ communities, lifestyles and cultures rather than mutual respect which is what equality means in any balanced and well-rounded society.
 
“I genuinely strive to be a Commissioner for all the communities of Bedfordshire, excepting only the minority of non-representative individuals who take extreme positions and engender hatred, and where I can I support education around hate crime and provide early interventions in order to prevent incidents that are rooted in hate,” said Commissioner Holloway. 
 
Using a variety of thought-provoking topics, training for mediators and teacher training materials, the Anne Frank Trust deliver workshops to support and educate those who have the potential to become either victims or potential offenders in the future.
 
Sarah Nuzum, Director of Education at The Anne Frank Trust, said: “Covid-19 has exacerbated inequalities and social divisions in many ways. We know that hate crimes have continued to increase, not only in number, but also in their depth and complexity.  As young people come back together at school after lockdown, teaching Restorative justice is so important in enabling them to develop skills such as active listening and empathy - so they can appreciate how words or actions can impact others.  Being able to resolve conflict before it escalates is an essential life skill, and vital in the prevention of hate crime.”

If you have experienced hate crime and need support as a result, Signpost is the service for victims of crime in Bedfordshire. Its Victim Care Coordinators are trained to support those suffering from hate-related crimes or incidents and can be spoken to confidentially on freephone 0800 0282 887. Alternatively, support services can be accessed directly across Bedfordshire by visiting www.signpostforbedfordshire.com for further information.

 
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PCC offers her platforms to community leaders in support of Black History Month

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has given her communication platforms over to community leaders from the Black community in support of Black History Month.

Black History Month in the UK has been celebrated for over 30 years, originally founded to recognise the contributions that people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have made in the country over generations. Now Black History Month has been expanded to include the history of all black people and highlighting their contributions and achievements.

“Black History Month, is always a time to reflect, celebrate, educate and listen in terms of the huge contribution of our black communities to British life and public service, including in policing. This year’s Black History Month is arguably the most significant we have had over the past three decades, following the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Commissioner Holloway.

Conroy Downer is the Project Manager at Reactiv8, an organisation that has a wide service range for programmes directly supporting individuals and communities across Bedfordshire. They support individuals suffering Domestic Violence, support people back into the workplace and develop the confidence and skill sets of young people in schools. Conroy will be using PCC Holloway’s platforms to share his message to the community about the importance of positivity.

Mr Downer said: “Anyone can create the life they deserve as there are no limits. Once we remove our mental barriers all is possible.”

PCC Holloway has been working to help National Police Chiefs Council Chair, Martin Hewitt, and Bedfordshire’s Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth, in relation to race and progressive policing.

“Listening has been a key element for me as I have been running a project called '100 Conversations' which started in the immediate aftermath of the death of George Floyd in the US. I have been speaking with black residents from all over Bedfordshire regarding their experiences of policing here and elsewhere and hearing constructive suggestions to improve the relationship between policing generally, and this force specifically, in relation to our black communities.

“A core theme from these conversations was that opportunity to communicate and build trust and understanding was core to community success. This is why I have given my communication platforms to leaders I work with from the Black community, who can then share their significant contributions and messages to a different audience,” added Commissioner Holloway.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) will be working with local people from black communities to share their work and voice on the Commissioner’s platforms for Black History Month. For more information or to get involved, please contact the OPCC via email
PCC@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk. To find about more about the work of Reactiv8, please visit www.reactiv8.org.uk/.

 
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PCC teams up with organisations in Bedfordshire to promote routes to support for World Mental Health Day
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has teamed up with organisations across the county to promote the importance of mental health and highlight access to greater support ahead of World Mental Health Day (Saturday 10 October). 
This year's theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is 'mental health for all’. The organisation is highlighting the need for greater access to specialist services for everyone, everywhere, in response to the ‘unprecedented impact of the current global health emergency due to Covid-19 that has impacted the mental health of millions of people’.
“As I sit within the heart of strategic groups advising Government on behalf of all policing in England and Wales in relation to the pandemic, I am very well aware of recommendations that organisations with front line workers will need to create bespoke mental health support for those who have lived through it under the most pressure, serving the public, which might be required for up to 15 years. 

“Ensuring appropriate care is in place for the officers, staff and volunteers of Bedfordshire Police was a very early focus of my Police and Crime Plan and I also fund a Mental Health Hub within Bedfordshire Police aimed at the public, providing named officers and mental health nurses to the most frequent users of blue light services to provide alternative support, plus specialist nurses in force control and my victim support service, Signpost, to advise officers and victim care specialists alike. 
"Access to mental health services is as essential for those in emergency roles as it is to the people they are supporting. I want everyone in the public sector as well as the public themselves to be aware of avenues to support, which is why I have used my platform to spread word of World Mental Health Day” said Commissioner Holloway

Working with Bedfordshire Police, the Clinical Commissioning groups, Local Authorities and Fire service the PCC has been encouraging partners to ‘share one thing’ across their networks, in a bid to increase the knowledge of access to services for mental health support.
The campaign has been shared on social media and encourages viewers to connect with someone who is not on social media, take notice of friends or colleagues who might be struggling and support them by sharing the ways they can access support.

For mental health support and services, please visit https://www.elft.nhs.uk/service/329/Bedfordshire-Mental-Health-and-Wellbeing-Service.
For more information on support and advice accessible in Bedfordshire for victims of crime, please visit www.signpostforbedfordshire.com or call the confidential free service on 0800 0282 887 and a specialist victim care coordinator will return the call.
 “It’s no good whatsoever providing mental health services if those in need of them have no idea how they can access the help and this is one small way to try to spread the word here in this county,” said PCC Holloway.

 
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PCC launches new Grant Fund for 2020 -21
PCC launches new Grant Fund for 2020-21 to support offenders to turn their lives around with alcohol and drug dependency projects and early diversion schemes to keep children out of gangs - and leaves £300k in the pot for her successor.

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has this week launched her Grant Fund for the next year and is inviting applications to help pay for projects to help offenders succeed in living a crime-free life, with support for drug and alcohol dependency and early intervention programmes to help children and young people avoid gangs and serious youth violence.

The PCC’s Grant Fund of approximately £170,000 is an annual opportunity to support innovative and collaborative working across Bedfordshire to help support victims and improve community safety. This year, as Commissioner Holloway is voluntarily stepping down from her role at the next election, she is leaving £300,000 for her successor to run their own funding process when they are elected into office in May 2021. 
“Helping to stop the revolving door back to prison, focussing on the addictions that drive prolific crime like burglary, street robbery and vehicle theft to get the cash for the next fix or drink and building on the successful interventions that have driven down serious youth violence in this county by 9% in the year to March 2020 are all my key priorities for the 2020-21 grant process.

 “I have found myself in circumstances where the election of a new PCC was delayed for a year. As a result, I have to deliver business as usual and support key partners and charities to help victims of crime and improve community safety through my normal commissioning process, but I was determined not to restrict my successor to my programme of commissions for what would be one third of his or her term (as the delayed election means the next PCC will serve for three years not five like me). As a result, I am setting aside a sizeable amount for them to distribute after coming into office,” said PCC Holloway.
The 2021/22 Grant Fund will be open to applications for two months and will require applicants to focus on one of the following areas:-

Area 1
The fund available for offender management and support for drug and alcohol dependency programmes is £50,000 (with £25k for drug rehabilitation and diversion and £25k for alcohol programmes).

The bids in total need to service the whole of Bedfordshire. If a bid is for one of the dependencies bidders need to alter the amount bid for as the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will need to provide funding for both sets of projects. These programmes will be directly linked to conditional cautions meaning that, as an alternative to being charged, individuals will have to commit to enter a drug or alcohol rehabilitation programme and adhere to it. 

All applicants for this area of grants need to be existing members of the procurement process for the Drug and Alcohol services to the Local Authority area they are part of.  

Area 2
The Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) is one in which police and partners from local authorities, youth offending, health and charities work together to support young people and their families across the county to divert them from gang membership and youth violence. The Commissioner’s new fund for early intervention projects is £120,000.

Individual bids need to be no more than £15,000 so that eight new programmes can be commissioned covering Bedfordshire as a whole.

All applicants are advised to contact the VERU who will provide a fact sheet to outline what the unit is currently doing and where bids would be most welcome. Would-be bidders for grants should email veru@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk for further details.

The timeline for the Grant Fund application process is:-
Action Date
PCC’s 2021/22 Grant Fund is launched Monday 5 October 2020
Applications to be submitted by Friday 27 November 2020 at 4pm
Shortlisting process Friday 4 December 2020
Invitations for interviews to be sent by Sunday 6 December 2020
Interviews to take place between Monday 14 and Wednesday 16 December 2020
Informing applicants of decisions and documents sent for completion by Friday 18 December 2020
Partners signed and completed documents returned by Friday 29 January 2021
Projects to start Thursday 1 April 2021

The Commissioning Fund is now open and details can be found on the Commissioners website under Funding Opportunities. Applications close on Friday 27 November 2020 at 4pm. If bidders have questions, they can contact the OPCC on 01234 842064 or email 
PCC-Commissioning@Bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.
 
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PCC and Chief Constable welcome Policing Director General on her first official visit to Bedfordshire Police

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, and Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth, welcomed the Home Office’s Director General for Crime, Policing and Fire, Tricia Hayes, to Police Headquarters today (Friday 2 October) to meet with front line officers and Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU), the flagship partnership for the county aimed at tackling the root causes of serious violence.

On the Director General’s first visit to Bedfordshire Police Headquarters, Ms Hayes met first with Commissioner Holloway and the Chief Constable, to hear them outline the impact of the Home Office’s investment to tackle serious violence in the county. They were joined by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Officer Paul Fuller.

“The Director General was extremely well informed about the very serious crime challenges that Bedfordshire Police faces in terms of Organised Crime and Serious Youth Violence and just why we need the £8.6m a year that we have just provided evidence of into this autumn’s Spending Review, backed by respected independent consultants on policing, Crest Advisory. Tricia also knew a great deal about the collaborative work Bedfordshire Police does in quite exemplary joint working with the fire service here and we all agreed with the Chief Officer,Paul Fuller that this has been built on a meeting of minds and a very strong professional relationship between all the strategic leaders of the blue light services here,” said PCC Holloway.

 

“Tricia has come to see us at an absolutely critical juncture for policing and rather than just stretching out a hand for more investment we had the opportunity to demonstrate how very much more the Home Office has achieved for more in its Special Grants to me over the past three years. We were able to explain, however, that Bedfordshire Police needs such funding to be fully sustainable and why, as well as showing her some outstanding recent results,” said the PCC.

 

Chief Constable Garry Forsyth provided a presentation of recent outstanding successes in relation to the prosecution of Organised Crime Groups, especially in relation to drug dealing, with graphic illustrations of drug, weapons and cash seizures over recent months.


The Director General then met with officers from the Response team and staff from the Force Contact Centre who have been responding to emergency calls throughout the pandemic.  

Ms Hayes also visited officers from the Op Boson unit which, since its launch in 2018, has carried out 300 search warrants, arrested more than 400 suspects and seized 47 firearms, 23 imitation firearms, 1,252 rounds of viable ammunition, 7.3 kilos of Class A and 11.4 kilos of Class B drugs as well as more than £156,000 in cash.

Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth, said: “I am delighted we have hosted such an experienced and highly respected civil servant as Tricia Hayes. We really hope she enjoyed her time with us and was able to learn a bit more about what we do.

 

“We face some unique policing challenges in Bedfordshire. We have been consistently clear about the scale of this challenge around gangs, exploitation and organised crime, as well as the need for investment and resources to combat this threat. This is without mentioning the variety of other criminal activity we tackle on a daily basis, as well as more recent issues such as responding to coronavirus.

 

“The Home Office has listened to these concerns and responded with millions of pounds of extra funding, and we have responded in kind, reducing serious youth violence in Bedfordshire by nine per cent last year. Ongoing work is also having a massive impact on organised criminal networks operating in the county.

 

“This is superb police work which is making a real difference to countless lives across Bedfordshire, as is the work with our partners and communities through the coordination of the VERU. It is vital that we get continued and long term support in order to carry on this work and achieve the real and long lasting change we are all hoping to accomplish.”

The Director General continued her visit to Luton Police Station where she met with the Project Manager of the Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU), Kimberley Lamb, to discuss how the continued investment in the unit is helping to drive down serious violence, reduce offending and engage with young people in the county. Ms Hayes concluded her visit by patrolling Luton with officers from the Response team. 

Home Office’s Director General for Crime, Policing and Fire, Tricia Hayes, said: “I am so grateful to Kathryn, Garry, Paul and many colleagues in team Bedfordshire for organising such a fascinating and inspiring visit. It left me in no doubt about the challenges facing Bedfordshire but also the passion, creativity and strong cross agency working which is being deployed to help solve them. I particularly welcomed the opportunity to connect with front line officers and find out more about the practical challenges of policing in COVID. Thanks to all involved.”

“I sincerely hope that the three of us can be a critical friend to Tricia to help develop policy with regard to policing and we all genuinely appreciated being part of her discussions on subjects from the development of blue light collaboration to the need to provide policing with specialist contract and technological assistance to be the most intelligent clients possible when it comes to the purchase of big ticket items like new, joined-up IT. We hope to take up the discussions again soon and I certainly feel it was a genuinely enjoyable as well as productive visit,” said Commissioner Holloway. 

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PCC calls for community bids to her new fund to make Bedfordshire's streets safer

 

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, yesterday (Monday 28 September) launched a new fund supporting the Safer Streets Project, to improve safety for residents in crime hotspots in Luton and Bedford after winning more than £882,000 from the Home Office. 

In July, as a result of two successful bids submitted to the Home Office’s Safer Streets Campaign by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and PCC Holloway’s local authority partners, the areas of High Town in Luton and Midland Road in Bedford were awarded £448,150 and £434,000 each to improve safety.

The measures proposed include enhancing CCTV coverage using brand new technology which tracks intruders and target hardening including new gating around car parks and back alleys to prevent criminals from gaining access to homes or stealing cars. The fund will also pay for advanced home security equipment for residents, including doorbells showing the caller to the home owner and bespoke crime prevention advice for both residents and businesses, delivered in conjunction with Bedfordshire Police’s Crime Prevention team. 

As part of Commissioner Holloway’s ongoing commitment to make the streets of Bedfordshire safer, she is seeking to fund projects around community engagement which can run in conjunction with the technology improvements installed through their Safer Streets Project and is looking for ideas which come from residents themselves.

“It’s not for me or even Bedfordshire Police to tell the residents of High Town and Midland Road what they feel they need most to make their area safer. I trust residents themselves to have the clearest possible sense of what needs to be done as a priority, which areas are most exposed to crime and how best to tackle these.

“For that reason, I am inviting community groups based in either of these two areas to bid for cash help to put their crime-busting ideas into action,” said the PCC. 

The application process will be open from Monday 28 September until Monday 12 October 2020 and can be for grants of up to £15,000 each for the area of High Town and £10,000 for the area of Midland Road. 

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) is looking for bids in the following areas:

Bids for High Town, Luton:

1.    Bids that support the community and build resilience to crime

2.    Bids that are willing to offer additional benefits to the existing Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

3.    Bids showing engagement with residents which support the delivery of community interventions

4.    Engagement with businesses and stakeholders.

Bids for Midland Road, Bedford:

1.    Bids that support the community and build resilience to crime

2.    Bids that add to the service of the Home Visiting Team

3.    Bids that are able to support vulnerable residents who have been identified via these Home Visits

4.    Bids showing engagement with residents which support the delivery of community interventions

5.    Engagement with business and stakeholders.

Successful applicants will be expected to work in conjunction with the Safer Streets Project, Bedfordshire Police’s Crime Prevention team, the OPCC and their local council. They will be required to attend all operational Safer Streets meetings to build this programme together and provide feedback concerning the effect.

Applications for grants need to be sent via email by Monday 12 October at 4pm. Successful applicants will be informed on Friday 23 October. For assistance or any questions regarding the process, please email
PCC-Commissioning@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

For more information and details on how to apply, please visit www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/SaferStreets.

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Bedfordshire Youth Council welcomes more young people after successful launch
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, launched a new partnership group, called the Bedfordshire Youth Council (BYC), last month (August), which work to ensure that the voices of young people are heard, understood and responded to in this county.

The BYC uses an online forum, solely held on Instagram, which allows young people from across Bedfordshire to get involved with the work of BYC remotely and have as much or as little interaction as they want, but will ensure that the work of the group is accessible for all.

This month sees ‘Know Your Rights’ as the first in a series of topics to help the young people across Bedfordshire be more aware of policies, protocols and campaigns. Att10tive has been working closely with the BYC to create images which are posted throughout the month around the chosen topic. The BYC has already started to gain followers from across the county and has benefited from their engagement to see what they would like to discuss or learn more about.

“We listened to young people and acted on their guidance by moving the BYC to an online platform only. Sharing key information with young people through a mechanism they not only understand but develop themselves is important to me.  I have been impressed with the work from the first group of young people and I can’t wait to see what they and others do next. I hope the young people across Bedfordshire will be encouraged to be a part of this,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The BYC is calling upon young people and youth groups from across Bedfordshire to work on future topics and areas of focus. Each series will require a minimum of nine images or posters which will be published on the Instagram account, @bedsyouthcouncil.

Following the completion of the series, contributors will be awarded with a certificate from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, expressing her thanks for supporting and contributing to the work of the Bedfordshire Youth Council and a donation of £500 towards the work that their group does in the community.

The BYC is also working to encourage young people from across Bedfordshire to take part and have their say in Commissioner Holloway’s ‘100 conversations’ project with the African-Caribbean community.
To read more about the ‘100 conversations’ click here.

For more information and how to get involved with the Bedfordshire Youth Council, please visit the OPCC website: https://www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/general.php?id=298

For the Bedfordshire Youth Council (BYC) Instagram page, visit here: https://www.instagram.com/bedsyouthcouncil/

 
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Bedfordshire's VERU to head up first ever prison-community initiative for HMP Bedford

 

Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU), the flagship partnership for the county aimed at tackling the root causes of serious violence, has launched a new initiative working with HMP Bedford – a first of its kind.


The VERU Phoenix Project will be aimed at those under the age of 25, focusing on breaking the cycle of repeat offending by offering young adults a range of support services and educational opportunities which will help them to return to their communities and bring about a positive and lasting change.

The programme will launch in the coming weeks and involve a partnership approach from the VERU, HMP Bedford and the national charity, Young Enterprise (YE), which specialises in boosting employability and financial education skills.

“Ensuring offenders leave prison inspired and equipped for real change is vital if we want to see a reduction in repeat offending and criminality in our county. I have to assign the budget of the VERU in a way that ensures we are investing in all areas of early intervention for young people and this programme is certainly a good investment,” said Commissioner Holloway.


Kimberley Lamb, VERU manager, said: “We know that in many cases those involved in illegal activity are themselves subject to various degrees of violence and exploitation, with the lines increasingly blurred between victims and suspects involved in things like county lines.

 

“With the right help and support we know that many young people have the passion and talent to take a different path and turn their lives around.

 

“I am so grateful to the support of HMP Bedford for this pioneering approach, as well as the ongoing work of all our partners and projects working with vulnerable young people and communities across Bedfordshire.”


Of the 396 residents currently at HMP Bedford, over a quarter are under 25 and the majority of which will only be at the prison for a short time.


PJ Butler, Governor of HMP Bedford, said: “I am delighted that VERU and YE are working with my team and I to design and introduce this prison-community initiative, a first for HMP Bedford.

 

“Young adults have so much to offer our communities in custody and on release if given the right support. This initiative will enable a positive change to their lives by giving them the opportunities, critical skills and support they need to turn away from their former criminal activities.

 

“I am optimistic that our collaboration with VERU and YE will return responsible citizens, not offenders, to their communities on release. I am grateful to our new partners and Kathryn Holloway, Police & Crime Commissioner, for their support in making this happen.”

The project will initially be running a focus group with the young adults to assess their needs and what sort of educational support and skills they require to give them the best start when they are released and re-join the community.

 

The information from the focus group will help to formalise the programme for young adults and will accommodate the need for virtual support to ensure it can still go ahead during the pandemic.


Sharon Davies, Chief Executive for Young Enterprise, said: “I'm delighted Young Enterprise will be working in partnership with VERU and HMP Bedford and young people on the VERU Phoenix Project. We passionately believe that meaningful opportunities to develop and apply an enterprising mindset and skills can, with appropriate support, change young people’s futures.

“We can't wait to meet and engage with practitioners and young people to find out how they like to learn and the kind of support they feel will help them get the greatest benefit from on the project. We are really grateful to VERU and HMP Bedford for this fantastic opportunity to partner in this innovative project.”


The project is one of more than 20 programmes which is funded and run by the VERU this year, in an effort to reduce serious crime in Bedfordshire. The unit is governed by Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway. For more information about the work of VERU, please visit bedsveru.org.

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Have your say - PCC launches her annual survey to the people of Bedfordshire

 

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has launched her annual survey.

The survey, which has been launched today (Wednesday 9 September), can be found at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FM8MJWS. The public will have a month to share their views, with the closing date for submissions being Friday 9 October. Following the survey, all the data will be collated and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) will publish a report on its website.

“I have continuously given a voice to the public during my time as Police and Crime Commissioner and my annual survey is one of the core mechanisms I use to do this. Throughout the pandemic, it has been important to me that your voice has not been lost. I have been speaking with and virtually meeting as many people as possible through remote events with the public, our partners, councillors and the Police and Crime Panel.

“In previous surveys we were lower in responses from young people and so I have set up the Bedfordshire Youth Council on Instagram to allow the young people of Bedfordshire to have their voice heard. I have been having conversations with people from all over the county to understand what matters to them and the relationship they have with the police. Your experiences, thoughts and ideas are the foundation for us in understanding how best to deliver the services of Bedfordshire Police,” said Commissioner Holloway.


The survey includes questions asking for residents’ views on the crimes types they are most affected by and the services they have had access to over the past year, such as Signpost (www.signpostforbedfordshire.com), which launched in 2018 to provide support for victims across Bedfordshire regardless of whether they have reported a crime or not.

The survey is being sent out to residents across the county and will be accessible via the Commissioner’s website (www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/).

“May I take this opportunity to thank those of you who will take the time to complete the survey. It will allow us to better understand your views and experiences which will ultimately help others in our communities,” added the PCC.

 

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PCC thanks activity leaders of The James Campbell Collective as her lockdown and holiday service for young people hits nearly 5000 views

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, said “a huge thank you” to the organisations who have posted daily activities for young people for her on YouTube throughout lockdown and the school holidays, as The James Campbell Collective reached close to 5,000 views.

The James Campbell Collective was first launched by the PCC in May (Monday 4) and was aimed at 10 to 25-year-olds, with daily sessions being either streamed or uploaded each day from Monday to Friday. The service was coordinated and introduced by professional personal fitness trainer and body builder James and included Luton Town Football Club training sessions, boxing for exercise, cooking and baking on a budget, chess tutorials and dance. In four months, contributors have produced 350 videos and the channel has received 4,965 views.

“I’m absolutely delighted by the success of the YouTube channel which was launched at a time when pupils and students were not even in schools and colleges or attending youth and community clubs to let them know it was happening. Yet we managed with the fantastic support of those behind all these venues to spread the word and build an audience registering nearly 5,000 views. If any single youth club provided for hard to reach young people had been attended 5,000 times, I’m sure those running it would be ecstatic.

“The whole idea was to give young people in Bedfordshire something constructive to do during lockdown or the school holidays, whichever turned out to be longer, and the way things have turned out I’m so pleased that my office and I got up and delivered for them right at the outset, without hanging around to see what would happen at such an unprecedented time of pressures for us all and young people in particular; cut off from their friends, social lives and education.

“My hope always was that, in addition to attracting young people away from more damaging online content, including those criminals who sought to lure them into county lines activity on their behalf rather than being visible themselves on our streets, we might provide them with a life-long hobby or interest that could even turn into employment just as James’ interest in the gym and fitness has provided him with a career.

“James is only 20 but his contribution has been outstanding: he is a consummate professional who delivered his films on time every single day and also brought his filming, editing and graphic design skills to the project; meaning I did not have to pay a business to design a logo or produce promotional content. I would not hesitate to recommend him to any one of our partners, such as schools and local authorities, to perhaps lead their youth activities during the normal school holidays,” said Commissioner Holloway. 

James Campbell said: “I would say that The JCC has been very successful and I’m grateful for the opportunity it gave me. We can tell through the statistics that we have reached a lot of young people and I hope that we have had a positive impact on them. I hope it will inspire other collectives delivering a range of activities, similar to this one in future.”

James Hatch, School and Sport Manager for the Luton Town FC Community Trust, said: “The James Campbell Collective has been a great way to engage with not only lots of young people who would ordinarily attend our various weekly sessions around Luton and Bedfordshire, but also to reach a much wider audience with over 300 likes on our Facebook platform and over 1,500 engagements via Twitter.

“When we produced the first video at the start of May, August seemed a long way off and we all thought life would have returned to normal by now. We were wrong: with schools and colleges now closed for the summer, the videos have become an even more important way to reach everyone as social distancing restrictions continue to adversely affect the normal way young people live their lives.”

The initiative has given other organisations who are newly established, the ability to find and reach young people despite the restrictions faced as a result of Covid-19 measures such as the lockdown and social distancing.

JP Smith from Boxing Saves Lives, said: “Boxing Saves Lives is a brand new, not for profit, organisation created just as lockdown began. The opportunity given to us by the Bedfordshire PCC has been a huge building block for Boxing Saves Lives, helping us spread the message of how we can help young people.

“Without her invitation to be part of The James Campbell Collective, we would have struggled to have the resources to begin creating awareness, or the ability to hit the ground running during an incredibly difficult time. We have engaged many young people through fun fitness sessions, but also by interviewing young people and giving them a voice to share their lived experiences and to help others understand the sport.

“Being a part of The James Campbell Collective means we now have a springboard to help young people stay away from harm, build self-worth, and improve their physical and mental health through the sport of boxing.”

“What's been so important to me is that I have had the chance to introduce our young people to the sort of positive mentors among their peers delivering services like Boxing Saves Lives. Sport has always been a route out of social deprivation and a diversion from more harmful activities as has dance. That’s why it’s been so important to find inspirational youth leaders who are as young as possible to deliver this scheme too their peers and I sincerely hope that, even though I will no longer be the Police and Crime Commissioner next summer, other organisations will build on this early success,” said PCC Holloway.

The Commissioner’s office worked alongside the children’s charity, Embrace, to raise money for equipment, such as chess sets and skipping ropes. Through the fund, 116 items were sent to children and young people which helped them to follow along at home, with the chess sets proving to be most popular.

The final sessions for the James Campbell Collective were uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday 1 September. The James Campbell Collective channel will remain accessible on YouTube for anyone wishing to catch up on the sessions
at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBBGBdJgnvMHd25wW7aqVUQ
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