Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
01234 842064
PCC takes the lead on Signpost to enhance services for victims in Bedfordshire

 

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has taken the decision to move Signpost, the website and call centre service which provides emotional and practical support for victims of crime and those affected by it, under the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). The move, which has been effective from the start of July, means Commissioner Holloway will now oversee the service and its employees to build on Signpost's outstanding success so far. 

Commissioner Holloway with Chief Constable Garry Forsyth and Paul Cain from the Police and Crime Panel at the launch of Signpost in 2018 Commissioner Holloway with Chief Constable Garry Forsyth and Paul Cain from the Police and Crime Panel at the launch of Signpost in 2018.Signpost was launched in April 2018 by the PCC, to provide access to quality help, support, advice and guidance, with referrals to a wide range of specialist support organisations. The Signpost Hub, which employs 10 members of staff working as Victim Care coordinators under a line manager, supported 2,452 victims last year and has been working closely with charities and organisations to ensure victims receive the right support. 

 

“While the business case for the Signpost service came from me and I pay for the service, it had been managed by Bedfordshire Police until now. Having been able to bring in a specialist officer who has extensive experience of delivering high quality victim care from the Metropolitan Police it seemed a perfect time to progress a service which has already been recognised by the police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) as ‘notable practise’ to recommend to all police forces in England and Wales.

 

“Having been responsible for the creation of the Signpost website and call centre service, I’m sure everyone will appreciate how delighted I am with where we have got to so far but I’m absolutely convinced we can build on that success and go even further with a victim care specialist at its helm,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The PCC has appointed Simon Powell as the new Head of Victim Care in Bedfordshire and his responsibilities will include managing Signpost. Simon served as a police officer for seventeen years, working for the Metropolitan Police in various roles including, most recently, victim care, being responsible for delivery of t
he Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (known as the Victims' Code)

“I am thrilled to have joined the OPCC as the Head of Victim Care. Since joining, it has been clear to me that supporting victims is at the heart of what they do. I am working with a great team in the Signpost Hub; we are all passionate about providing the best and most effective victim care. There is always room for growth and improvement, so I will be working closely with our partners to strengthen those relationships and see what more we can do to support those who need us most,” said Simon Powell.

“Simon is absolutely on our wavelength at Bedfordshire Police and the OPCC and we’re very lucky to have him. He is passionate about providing victims of crime and those who have been impacted by it, who may be partners, parents or children of the victim themselves, with the best possible service and I very much look forward to working with him,” said PCC Holloway.

If you have been affected by crime, the Signpost Hub offers free and confidential support to victims in Bedfordshire, whether or not it has been reported to police and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred. Contact 0800 0282887 or visit 
www.signpostforbedfordshire.com for further information.

...Continue
Signpost partners with charity to offer lived experience support for victims of Domestic Abuse

Bedfordshire’s victim support organisation - Signpost - which supported 2,452 victims last year, is partnering with a new charity to provide additional support for victims of Domestic Abuse. Change Ur Life, a charity founded this year, offers support from people who have experienced Domestic Abuse themselves and are able to speak with victims remotely, via telephone and online.

Signpost was launched by Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, in April 2018 to provide emotional and practical support and access to restorative justice for all victims of crime or those affected by crime, who may be partners, parents or children of the victim. It provides a one-stop shop offering access to help, support, advice and guidance, with referrals to a wide range of specialist support organisations via a website -
Signpostforbedfordshire.com - and freephone call centre helpline on 0800 0282887 . 

“It’s really important for my office and Bedfordshire Police to be working with as many charities and organisations across the county as possible to ensure we have enough support for victims of crime. To be able to offer victims of Domestic Abuse the option to speak to people who have actually experienced this terrible crime themselves and came out the other side helps them to recognise they are not alone and to learn that support can be flexible to their needs, especially during the current health crisis,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

The team at Change Ur Life is currently working remotely, but will soon be joining the call centre staff at the Signpost base in Kempston, Bedford. Change Ur Life will receive referrals from Signpost’s Victim Care Coordinators, who man the call centre, and their aim is to offer victims friendly and non-judgmental support.

 

Juliet Meshi, Operational Manager for Change Ur Life, said: “We are honoured and feel extremely privileged to be offering this service and working with Signpost. I have worked in this field for over a decade and I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. My colleagues and I have supported a large number of victims in escaping from violent and abusive relationships; helping people to escape torture, abuse and in some cases, death. We believe no one should have to endure a life of fear and misery. Everyone has the right to live a life free from abuse. I, myself, am a survivor of Domestic Abuse and know first-hand how it feels to be physically and mentally abused. 

 

“I want to continue my journey in helping victims to establish a life where they no longer live in fear: a life where they can be their true selves and not someone the abuser has manipulated them to be. Our charity is aspiring to grow and with a lot of experience, passion and ambition we aim to help as many victims of Domestic Abuse as possible,” she said.

 

“I’m really looking forward to welcoming Change Ur Life to the Signpost Hub to work alongside our Victim Care Coordinators, offering support to victims of Domestic Abuse because they have genuinely walked in the shoes of those needing advice to escape and nobody could be better positioned to support others in that dreadful position. 

 

“Our aim is to continue to find and effective partnerships to provide a fully comprehensive level of care for victims across the county and to continue to work with our existing high quality partners and Change Ur Life really fills a gap in the services that were previously available in Bedfordshire,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

If you have been affected by crime, Signpost offers free and confidential support to victims in Bedfordshire, whether or not it has been reported to police and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred. Contact 0800 0282887 or visit www.signpostforbedfordshire.com for further information.

...Continue
Programmes to help parents and young people backed by the VERU

More than £40,000 is to be invested in programmes to help parents and young people as a landmark new partnership continues its work to drive down serious youth violence in Bedfordshire.

                                                                            

Work in schools, parental classes and outreach projects are among those being supported by Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) over the coming months.

 

It is part of a comprehensive package of measures being rolled out by the VERU, which is governed by Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway.

 

“I am absolutely delighted to have been granted Home Office funding for a second year of VERU projects. The decline in youth violence of just under 9 per cent and the resulting 200 young people who are still alive or living without life-changing injuries are testament to its success in its first year. This unit means services are working together as never before and much of the money is going directly to work in communities, by community members, who are best placed to know what will work by way of diversion from gang membership and knife carrying,” said PCC Holloway.

 

The latest projects backed with VERU funding include a weekly drop-in session for young people in Luton run by radio station Diverse FM, as well as presentations at the Oakbank school in Leighton Buzzard by offenders who have turned their lives around.

  

Work with parents is also a major part of the latest funding. Three separate programmes have been funded to ensure coverage across Bedfordshire, with a particular focus on helping parents who had difficult upbringings themselves.

 

“I’m particularly pleased that one of my objectives as PCC is being realised through the VERU, reaching out directly to parents to help them with ways to establish boundaries and support them in the often difficult parenting of teenagers and younger children,” said Commissioner Holloway.

More details about these programmes are outlined below.

 

The VERU is also backing a number of other projects, with town councils and mayors being able to award funding to local groups who wish to provide spaces for young people such as youth clubs.

 

A specific project will be carrying out education and skills training in prisons, while further funding has been allocated to the county’s Community Safety Partnerships and youth offending services.

 

The VERU will also be funding training for hospital staff to recognise the signs of vulnerable and exploited young people when they attend with injuries or trauma relating to serious violence.

 

Serious youth violence fell by 9 per cent in the VERU’s first year, equivalent to around 200 fewer victims of such offences in the county.

 

Pathways to Success – Diverse FM - £10,000

Run by Diverse FM’s community team, this Luton-based outreach project will involve a weekly drop in session offering young people access to information, support and peer mentoring.  As part of the development of this service, Diverse FM will offer employability skills, media skills development and recreational activities, with a view to building skills and encouraging positive life choices by the young people that take part.

 

Uprising – One Stop Advice - £10,000 

This project will offer parental classes which build skills and resilience.  Its focus will be to provide a service whereby parents, guardians and carers are mentored to increase their ability to put measures in place to manage boundaries and protect their children from exploitation.  This project will particularly focus on building resilience within parents who, due to a lack of confidence and knowledge, would benefit from support. 

 

Challenging behaviour parenting workshops - Counselling Wellbeing Foundation - £10,000

The foundation will work with parents whose own lives have been impacted by social environmental factors, leasing to issues such as substance abuse or criminal offending. This project will work to improve family relationships and long-term outcomes for the children.  

 

Baby Faces - FACES - £10,000

The project will support people in the transitional stages of becoming parents and offer them tools and coping strategies to prevent and heal adverse childhood experiences (ACES). 

 

Prison Me No Way - Oakbank School - £1,500

This coeducational special school in Leighton Buzzard will run presentations to more than 100 students by Prison Me No Way, an agency which helps students via presentations from ex-prisoners who have turned their lives around. Workshops will be specifically tailored to cover county lines, gangs, drugs and violence. This programme will reach those students who are already involved in gang related behaviour and act as an early intervention for those who are vulnerable to being groomed to become involved in this type of lifestyle.

...Continue
PCC allocates £169,000 to help services supporting Domestic Abuse and Serious Violence victims in Bedfordshire as cases rise during pandemic
******** Warning! This press release discusses attacks of sexual violence **********
 
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has launched a new fund for services supporting Domestic Abuse and Serious Violence victims during the Covid-19 pandemic, distributing £169,000 which she won from the Ministry of Justice after a rise in violence within the home nationally. 

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has allocated funds made up of £113,000 for services the Police and Crime Commissioner already commissions and a further £56,500 for additional projects.

The Commissioner instructed her office to engage with local organisations and specialists in the causes of Domestic Violence and most effective way to help victims escape from it to understand where the money would be best put to use.
 
“It’s hugely welcome that this extra emergency help is being made available by the Ministry of Justice during the pandemic. It’s incredibly disturbing that national helplines have seen a surge in calls and this is, naturally, reflected in those needing help right now in this county and those who are likely to have their first chance to access support when the lockdown is raised further,” said PCC Holloway.

The fund was advertised by the Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and partners were invited to an online meeting where the fund distribution was explained and discussed against the needs of victims, identified by charities and victim support organisations in the county.
 
The applications were reviewed with an ambition to support organisations and charities of all sizes, reaching as many victims across the county as possible. Applications needed to address how the funding would support the rise seen in Domestic Abuse during the pandemic and had to relate to the following areas:
 
·       IDVAs; Independent Domestic Violence Advisors
·       CHIDVAs; Child focused Independent Domestic Violence Advisors
·       Family Court support
·       Face to face or remote counselling for individuals and/or their families
·       Support for particular groups such as Disabled, LGBT victims or those from Black and Minority Ethnic community groups.
 
“It’s very important to me that these funds are available to help all victims of Domestic Abuse, whatever their gender, cultural background or whether or not they have a disability. Nobody should have to suffer in silence, imprisoned in the very place where they have every right to feel safest; within their own homes,” said Commissioner Holloway.
 
The following organisations were awarded funds:-
 
Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust
The Safer Luton Partnership
Home Start
ACCM UK
Reactiv8 the Nation CIC
Living Your Life (Bedfordshire)
Luton All Women Centre
Counselling Foundation
Mindfulness Support Service CIC
The Hope Programme
FACES
TOKKO Ltd.
Embrace
Azalea
 
The projects Commissioner Holloway is supporting range from specialist counselling advice to secure smart devices to allow victims of Domestic Abuse to access ongoing help without having to share a phone, tablet or computer while under the care of the Bedfordshire Family Drug and Alcohol Courts, working to keep families together in care proceedings. 
 
After informing organisations of their allocations, many shared emails of thanks to the OPCC for its understanding of the need for such emergency provision.
 
Helen Snowden, Community Relations Manager for Azalea, which works to support women being exploited within the sex industry, often through human trafficking, gave a stark example of the type of victim the funding will now support “The money will go directly to supporting clients that have suffered extreme trauma, like ‘Olivia’. After being gang raped by five men 'Olivia' came to Azalea and wanted to feel safe. She could not talk after the disclosure and simply stayed at the location for a period of contemplation. After a while ‘Olivia’ spoke and told the team that the space in Azalea has been a healing place, not a place of patronising platitudes but of actual peace and healing.”
 
The PCC also received messages of support for the way the fund is being distributed from the Chief Executives of voluntary organisations the Hope Programme, Embrace, The Children’s Charity and from Domestic Abuse specialists who were asked to give their time to help her office ensure the funds were allocated to those on the front line of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence. 
...Continue
PCC wins 24K grant from the Ministry of Justice for victims of Domestic Violence in Bedfordshire to access help safely

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has been successful in her bid to win a further £24,000 to support those affected by Domestic Abuse during the pandemic from an emergency Ministry of Justice Fund, to be distributed by police charity, the Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust.

This money comes on top of the £60,000 the PCC committed immediately before lockdown to provide emergency accommodation for those fleeing Domestic Abuse during the Covid crisis, with her office finding hotel and rented housing for victims, despite the challenges as so much of the hotel and housing sectors had closed.

The win follows the adoption of the Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust (BPPT) into the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner only weeks ago, to allow the Commissioner’s office to bid for funds requiring a charitable base. BPPT was launched as a charity in 1997 to help build community safety across the county.

As a result of the pandemic, Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust (BPPT) applied for funds to support work undertaken by the Family, Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) in Bedfordshire, which is also part-funded by the PCC. Such courts support parents in care proceedings to address drug and alcohol problems and resolve difficulties in the home, to help families stay together. A portion of the new money will directly support the crime prevention needs of the FDAC clients during this pandemic to help them access support confidentially on secure smart devices, and the rest will be available to all victims of Domestic Abuse across Bedfordshire.

“This money represents partnership working in action and is testament to how partners collaborate and innovate at a time of crisis. Bernii Francis, who is the Domestic Abuse lead for the Family Drug and Alcohol Court in Bedfordshire suggested this idea to my office as she has seen at first hand what an impact practical items like safe online equipment can make to those who are escaping a life of abuse, in keeping them and their children safe” said Commissioner Holloway.  

As a result of the grant, FDAC clients will, through the Partnership Trust, be able to access its services safely and remotely, allowing vulnerable FDAC clients to receive support with minimal risk through technology devices which enable remote and private access to key workers and wider support networks. 

Bernii Francis, the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) Domestic Abuse specialist, said: “Covid-19 has meant that, when accessing support services remotely, some of our clients have had to share computers, tablet devices or smartphones and, in some cases, have no access to any device. The funding will allow us to conduct our Domestic Abuse work safely in these particularly uncertain times; taking the worry away from clients in terms of whether they will still be able to access support. The funding will also allow us to implement additional safety measures ensuring the clients’ needs are met”.

The win follows the adoption of the Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust (BPPT) into the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to allow the Commissioner’s office to bid for funds requiring a charity to qualify. 

Clare Kelly, Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust Chief Executive and Chief of Staff to the PCC, said “This early win, after the recent change for the charity, proves exactly why it’s so beneficial; allowing the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to qualify for funds that we would otherwise have been excluded from.

"The commitment of the Police and Crime Commissioner to support victims in Bedfordshire has meant that we can directly align the charity's purpose and activities with the needs of victims of crime that are passed on to us from the victim support services within the Commissioner’s existing grant-funded organisations, such as Signpost - the victim support hub for Bedfordshire. This connection will allow us to both enhance and increase the support of the charity to prevent crime and reduce the threat of violence to the people of Bedfordshire.”

Specialist victim care coordinators are available by phone to assist those affected by any crime, including Domestic Abuse, through the Signpost victims’ hub on confidential freephone number 0800 0282 887. Callers seeking help during the pandemic are asked to leave a message which will be maintained as private and a care coordinator will get back to them. For those who do not want to receive a return call, a directory of quality support services they can access directly is available at signpostforbedfordshire.com. Both services were introduced by Commissioner Holloway to improve access to victim support specialisms and targeted counselling, wherever victims live in the county and whatever the crime.

...Continue
Young people praise online content designed to ease lockdown boredom and PCC passes appeal target to support scheme
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, launched a range of online activities for young people during the Covid-19 pandemic as The James Campbell Collective (JCC) just over four weeks ago which have met with outstanding feedback from the 10 to 25-year-old target group - chalking up over 2000 views in just a month and passing an appeal target for materials to help them join in. 

“Every one of us is finding it a struggle at times to be at home and unable to see all our friends and wider family. This is so much worse for those who are young, whose social network is so hugely important to them, or who need a distraction from others who seek to track them down to cause harm by exploiting them online. The James Campbell Collective, can help with all of this.

“The idea behind the collective was to empower young people to deliver activities which might occupy 10 to 25-year-olds and even create a longer-term hobby or career opportunity as it has for James Campbell who leads the offers each weekday, who is a professional personal trainer and competitive body builder and has created this career from his hobbies at 20.
 
“We’ve also hit and passed our £1000 Just Giving target to raise money to buy materials to help young people join in; whether that’s an exercise mat or ingredients and utensils for cookery or art materials and I have to thank some incredibly generous and high profile community and faith leaders whose privacy I am respecting by not naming them but, instead, want to give them a huge thankyou now,” said Commissioner Holloway.
 
The materials to help young people to participate are being distributed by the charity Embrace (Child Victims of Crime) including to those who are living away from their usual homes as parents have had to access emergency accommodation due to Domestic Violence, during the pandemic.
 
Feedback on The James Campbell Collective channel on Youtube from young people using it to date has included:-
 “Awesome content” 

“Can’t wait to try this” 

“Loved it”

 
“This is of course precisely why I needed to find young people to deliver services to young people and hobbies that they’ve told both my own office and partners they want a chance to try. It’s no good a middle aged woman like me trying to determine what these might be for them! James was chosen to lead the activities because he was the most experienced Youtuber by far of those who approached me seeking funding and I needed someone to hold the whole project together, provide their own input in a professional way and also introduce the activities of others," said PCC Holloway.
 
Her staff, at the Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, continue to work with The James Campbell Collective to arrange a weekly schedule of activities ensuring that a wide variety of content is available for 10 to 25-year-olds in the county. To date there have been over 2185 views of the videos supplied by activity leaders making up the collective.

The content which is designed and aimed at young people around Bedfordshire can be accessed on
YouTube and Instagram, Monday to Friday until September, during both term time and school holidays. The range of activities include fitness sessions from exercise with James Campbell, Luton Town Football Club training sessions, boxing led by the organisation Boxing Saves Lives, cookery with Reactiv8 to chess and mindfulness courses with At10tive and the YMCA.  

The Luton Town Football Club Community Trust has been providing daily videos each weekday from the beginning of May as part of The James Campbell Collective. These online training sessions have been very well received and positive feedback has led to the development of additional content to meet the interests of participants.

At10tive created weekly chess video classes, taking new players from the first steps of how to play and building skills along the way. The feedback received from these Youtube videos and the degree of engagement has been so impressive that At10tive now offer one to one sessions with young people who would like to learn more or who prefer to learn on this basis.

The OPCC commissioned the charity Embrace Child Victims of Crime to supply young people who are engaging with the activities on the YouTube channel with free skipping ropes and chess sets so they can follow along. The money to cover the costs of these items was raised by the PCC's JustGiving campaign and raised over the target of £1000.

“The generosity of the people of Bedfordshire has meant that young people who may not have the means to provide their own equipment are able to participate fully in the programmes we've arranged, which then offers a fairer playing field and not one driven by social circumstances” said Commissioner Holloway.

To see the options for the free skipping ropes and chess sets, follow the link below:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DWPDB93 


“The James Campbell Collective is going really well, definitely providing those who want it with a lot of choice and hours of activities and entertainment, especially as we get further into lockdown and people begin to get bored with being sedentary. When they start to look for things to do, we will be there” said James Campbell.

The PCC has also been supported by partners such as Seeds of Change, Embrace and voluntary organisations for children, young people and families in promoting the work of The James Campbell Collective and its range of activities to the young people they work with. 

The James Campbell Collective can be accessed each weekday until September on YouTube at:

www.youtube.com/channel/UCBBGBdJgnvMHd25wW7aqVUQ

It can also be found on Instagram at:
https://www.instagram.com/jamescampbell.collective/
...Continue
PCC invests again in the right ‘Direction’ for ex-Offenders
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is marking  the first anniversary Direction for Bedfordshire - the one-stop support service for ex-offenders, their family and friends to help turn their lives around - by investing a further £85,000 in the service which has worked closely with more than 160 offenders in the first year.
 
In addition to the 160 plus former offenders to have received one to one support from specialists, via the Direction call centre, there have been almost 7000 visits to the 
https://directionforbedfordshire.co.uk  website and over 200 organisations are co- operating together under the Direction umbrella to provide a package to assist those wishing to turn away from criminality on release from prison.
 
“For a service which is only one year old, Direction has proved beyond all doubt that it's delivering a positive contribution to make Bedfordshire a safer place every day. What’s more, by providing advice to former offenders, even before they come through the HMP Bedford gates, we are giving them a far greater chance of a life outside criminality. With the continued support of my office, we look forward to developing this service even further in the second year.
 
“Ex prisoners can access support, either on the website of all relevant services or by speaking with or meeting Direction staff on a one to one basis. What’s been so impressive is that the Direction team has proved flexible to respond to the needs of this group to develop the service to work within the prison in Bedford as part of its 'through the gate’ programme and also setting up surgeries in community and other centres when former offenders and their families indicated that they wanted face to face support as well as the call centre service. It’s been hugely impressive,” said Commissioner Holloway.

‘Direction for Bedfordshire’ was a key objective in the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan following the success of Signpost, the Victim support hub she introduced to provide support for those who have been impacted by crime, which also offers a web directory of services and a call centre team. Created on the same model, Direction for Bedfordshire was set up to support and create life changing pathways for offenders needing help with finance, alcohol or drug misuse, accommodation, employment opportunities, health and reconciliation with their partners and families.
 
“What was so important to me was that former offenders themselves helped my office and our delivery partner, the charity YouTurn Futures, to design the Direction service, from the areas covered to the wording on the website. It would’ve been no good at all for us to try to decide for them what they’d need on exiting prison and we’ve made adaptations as a result of feedback too, introducing a service and information specifically for women, whose needs can be slightly different if children are involved,” said PCC Holloway.
 
Working with other agencies, a directory of services was created which allowed the team managed by Luton-based charity, YouTurn Futures, the ability to receive calls via a Freephone number 0800 917 5579, the dedicated website and face to face meetings to guide people to the right agency or pathway, depending on the area of need.
 
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Direction for Bedfordshire brokered a deal with the Department for Work and Pensions to enable released prisoners the chance to receive benefits and employment advice on the same day as their first visit to Jobcentres across the county to reduce the immediate risk of re-offending upon release. As well as working with HMP Bedford, Direction for Bedfordshire has also supported families of those currently in prison.
 
YouTurn director Stuart Smith said” We're delighted in the progress ‘Direction for Bedfordshire’ has made in its first year. Its priorities have been to support individuals who are at risk of criminality and connect them with services that can get them back on track and also to deliver effective partnership working by linking up support agencies to enhance collaborative working.”
During the pandemic, Direction for Bedfordshire has been working with partner organisations to establish what support is still available for those being released from prison or their families to reduce the chances and opportunities for re-offending at such a challenging time.
...Continue
PCC celebrates 35th year of Neighbourhood Watch Week

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has expressed her thanks and gratitude to the Neighbourhood Watch Schemes across Bedfordshire as they celebrate the 35th year of Neighbourhood Watch Week.

 

At a local level, members of Neighbourhood Watch schemes work to reduce the opportunity for crime and improve community safety by reporting suspicious incidents to the police and each other, to warn those living nearby.

 

“The real success of Neighbourhood Watch is that it has long been a community led initiative which is supported by the police and an excellent example of how individuals and officers, by working together, create safer and stronger communities which are hostile places in which to commit crimes like burglary. Every window is a potential eye on crime and members of Neighbourhood Watch make sure that anything which stands out is brought swiftly to the attention of police - and has been for three and a half decades. 

 

“There’s been a real increase in a spirit of neighbourliness during these recent months as we can see through the generosity of so many who have gone out of their way to look out for neighbours who are shielding and those who are ill, often picking up shopping and prescriptions. It’s an absolutely logical step to extend this beyond the pandemic by becoming a member of your local Neighbourhood Watch” said Commissioner Holloway. 

 

The PCC is supporting Neighbourhood Watch Week and its #LetsStayConnected message and has recorded a video to congratulate members of Neighbourhood Watches throughout Bedfordshire. The message can be seen here.

 

“Neighbourhood Watch may be the first and most well-known of all the public participation anti-crime partnerships but it’s also testament to the value of the scheme that it has been extended by so many other volunteers into Street Watch to check speeding locally and Dog and Horse Watch in Bedfordshire, to pass police information on crimes like nuisance biking and fly tipping which place off road in areas that patrol cars don’t reach.

 

“This is an achievement of which both members of Neighbourhood Watches and the police can be particularly proud. I am equally proud of every single volunteer who gives up their time to be a member of every single Watch programme and am happy to say a huge Happy 35th Birthday to the Watch that started it all,” said PCC.

 

If you are interested in joining Neighbourhood Watch in your area or any of the Street, Dog and Horse Watch schemes, you can contact Bedfordshire Police at https://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/information-and-services/Get-involved/Watch-Schemes/Community-watch-schemes.

...Continue
A statement from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner would like to thank all the volunteers who work tirelessly to support Bedfordshire Police, the OPCC and our community.

 

Without volunteers, the OPCC would be unable to run many schemes such as the Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel, the Dog Scheme and Independent Custody Visitors who support the level of transparency that Bedfordshire Police has.

 

The OPCC and the Force rely on volunteers to work in tandem with them to increase reassurance for residents across the county, as well as providing operational support to frontline teams.

 

Clare Kelly, Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, said “A huge thank you to everyone who takes the time to volunteer. Your selflessness and dedication is inspiring and fundamental to the support of our community. The varied volunteer roles across Bedfordshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner mean that we have incredibly knowledgeable and talented individuals as volunteers as Special Constables, victim care providers in Signpost, Independent Custody Visitors, Stop and Search Panel members, Dog Welfare volunteers, Independent Advisory Group members, and Police Staff Volunteers. We also know that a lot of the organisations we partner with are supported massively by volunteers and have seen a rise in support during this pandemic, so thank you to each and every one of you.”

 

The Special Constabulary has contributed 2,277 hours to Covid-19 patrols alone. During a time of such uncertainty, the force has seen a huge increase in this support and extends thanks to each and every person who has contributed in this way during the pandemic.

 

Over the past year, the force’s watch schemes have also seen shown an immense commitment, with the street watch teams alone volunteering a staggering 426 hours during November 2019 to aid police patrols during Remembrance Sunday and not to mention the multiple Christmas light switch on events. The street watch schemes are a great resource for the force and we are delighted that a new group in Silsoe was launched at the beginning of 2020.

 

DCS Karena Thomas, Bedfordshire Police’s Strategic Lead for Wellbeing, said “This week is National Volunteers Week and I would like to thank all the volunteers across our organisation who show up and support us in what we are doing.

 

“I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight all of our volunteers across the organisation; Wellbeing Champions, Trim Assessors, leads of our support groups, and many more who all take on these roles over and above their day jobs. We really are lucky and grateful to have some incredible people around us.”

 

In 2019, the speed watch teams sent a total of 4,800 letters to speeding motorists in hot spot areas, thereby deterring speeding and helping to make our roads safer with penalties and fines being issued by the Force for repeat offenders.

 

Younger volunteers in our Cohesion Champions and in Police Cadets supported the force at various events across Bedfordshire, including remembrance Sunday parades, community engagements and open days. They also help to engage with the younger generation and set a great example by the ways in which they give back to the community. 

 

Wendy Bird, Citizens in Policing Unit Manager, said: “The dedication and passion of our volunteers who generously give up their time to make a difference to the local community is fantastic and we thank each and every person for their enthusiasm and dedication. Volunteers play a huge part in policing - we can’t thank them enough.

 

Our volunteers are able to support the force in multiple ways whether it’s helping in back office functions, monitoring speeding vehicles and carrying out reassurance patrols, working alongside regular officers and assisting at community events.  It all helps the force better protect the citizens of Bedfordshire.”

 

Much like the other groups, the volunteers who have been working in Signpost have been a huge asset. The knowledge and skills they possess are invaluable to our Hub.

 

Simon Powell, Head of Victim Support and Community Grant Funding, said “The vision I have for Signpost is that we as a team, both staff and volunteers, provide first class care and support to victims of crime who live in our county. I am fully committed the volunteers and appreciate the value, skills and experience they bring to Signpost.”

 

The OPCC would also like to thank all of the volunteers across Bedfordshire who have pulled together to help and support their communities and each other throughout this current pandemic. The Force has received so many voluntary donations from various businesses/organisations and local community groups. We are truly thankful and appreciate your support and generosity at this difficult time.

 

A special thank you goes to all of those who have voluntarily donated food and refreshments to Bedfordshire Police during COVID-19:

 

  • ORISMA International – Kelvin Dhaliwal

  • Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha, Bedford – Jaswinder Kumar

  • Bedford Hindu Temple and Community Trust – Valai Gunapalan

  • Councillor Mohammed Masud

  • Shri Guru Ravidass – Sanjeev Kumar

  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – Raj Pancholi

  • Vinod Tailor

  • Peri Peri Chicken Hut – Sultan Khan

  • Coca Cola

  • Gemsatwork

  • And many more.

 

 

...Continue
Ministry of Justice funding allocated to PCC for Sexual Violence services in Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has today (Friday 22 May) launched a third new funding process to support services in Bedfordshire during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has allocated £56,500 to support Sexual Violence services.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) will be running a streamlined application process which will enable the successful applicants to receive funding more quickly. Members of the OPCC are attending workshops with the MoJ to understand further how the process will work and how the funds can be best distributed in the county.

“It’s hugely welcome that this extra emergency help is being made available by the Ministry of Justice during the pandemic. It’s very important to me that these funds are available to help all victims,” said PCC Holloway.

In line with the guidance issued by the MoJ, the OPCC is encouraging applications from all organisations, irrespective of their size or area they are able to cover. All of the applications will be reviewed with the ambition of reaching as many victims across the county as possible.

The timescale for the MoJ Sexual Violence Fund is as follows:

 
22/05/2020 Bedfordshire OPCC launches application process
05/06/2020 Application process closes. Applications sent after 9am will not be reviewed
11/06/2020 OPCC must provide assurance documentation to MoJ (Ministry of Justice)
16/06/2020 MoJ issue grant agreements to OPCCs
19/06/2020 OPCCs must return signed grant agreement to MoJ
25/06/2020 OPCCs will receive payment and will issue agreed funds to successful applicants.
 
To apply, please save and download the MOJ Sexual Violence Fund Application Form. Applications will need to be sent to the OPCC via email to PCC-Commissioning@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk by 9am on Friday 5 June 2020.

**Please note, we are aware of issues with the MoJ applications forms. Some boxes have drop down options only. You should be able to still type in that box, but if you experience difficulties, please type in the box in the next column and your appplication will still be considered.**

***UPDATE FRIDAY 29 MAY*** -

There have been ongoing talks with the MoJ, in relation to the deadline of 1st June 2020, for applications to the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Funds. We have just received notification that the deadline has been changed to allow more time for agencies to work on and submit bids. The new deadline is 9am Friday 5 June 2020. If you have already applied, we understand you may now want to use this additional time to work further on your application. If you intend to do this, please include **Resubmission** in the subject title of your email when sending your bid, to ensure the correct bid is reviewed for your organisation.

...Continue
PCC invites community group bids for fund to further drive down youth violence
Following the successful reduction in youth violence in Bedfordshire by 9 per cent in the year to March 2020, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is opening up her second fund for community projects aimed at tackling gang crime and knife carrying, after the Home Office agreed pay for the county’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) once more.

The VERU, which is run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, and which has attracted government funding of £880,000 once more, has identified a number of key projects which different groups and services can bid to deliver. They are:
  • Work with expectant mothers and fathers to build parenting skills
  • Projects with ex-offenders to help them break the pattern of gang membership and violence
  • Intervention in hospital and afterwards to help prevent today’s victims becoming tomorrow’s perpetrators of violence
  • Providing plans and one to one follow up support for young people in custody when they have been exposed to violence to divert them from future crime
  •  Schemes which provide the protection young people need within close relationships. The VERU will welcome bids from the community which address adverse childhood experiences, such as improved health schemes and ensuring healthy mentoring relationships and which can provide role models of similar ages       
  • Projects which can help protect young people and prevent violence from happening. This particularly includes bids from the community for physical locations such as community spaces that young people could consider safe spaces, or making them safer and better secured
These are just some of the new projects that will be backed by Bedfordshire’s £880,000 VERU, which the Home Office this week confirmed to PCC Holloway will be funded for a further 12 months.
 
“Last year the evidence shows that 200 fewer young people in Bedfordshire lost their lives and avoided life-changing injuries as a result of youth violence. I want to build on this progress and fund ideas from communities that have been most exposed to gang violence and knife carrying themselves as they are best placed to know what is likely to chime with their own young people. 
 
“If we haven’t been able to stop the violence in the first place, I want us to be able to reach out to them in the ‘teachable moment’ after an incident, in hospital, and for NHS staff to be able to work with us and specialist counsellors to provide them with help as victims today sadly often become perpetrators tomorrow in a cycle of revenge violence, if we don’t intervene and get this right,” said PCC Holloway.
The VERU will be funding training for hospital staff to recognise the signs of vulnerable and exploited young people when they attend with injuries or trauma relating to serious violence. Commissioner Holloway is also looking to find services to provide follow up help for victims of these crimes and the earliest possible intervention.
 
“I’d be very interested indeed in taking forward an idea with our health providers of working with young parents-to-be in hotspots of youth violence to support their parenting even before it’s begun and also to do further work with those who’ve already been offenders to help shape a different vision of what their futures could be,” said Commissioner Holloway.
A specific project will be carrying out education and skills training in prisons, with further funding allocated to the county’s Community Safety Partnerships and youth offending services.

"I want us to focus on schemes that divert young people from harmful activities, build better relationships in their own homes and provide young people with examples of others of their own age who are following a more productive and safer path. 

“VERU community projects last year engaged with more than 12,000 people and had a huge impact with fantastic results to reduce serious youth violence. This was just the beginning and the new funding allows us to build on this success and go further still with the active help of our communities,”  said PCC Holloway.

As part of the funding, £29,000 will be made available to town and parish councils to bid for a maximum of £5,000 to improve locations, safe spaces and activities for young people, with the ambition of deterring them from unsafe spaces.
 
This could be a bid to further develop and refurbish current sites such as toilet facilities, lighting and security.
 
Further details about the grant process and how to apply are available on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website under the Campaigns & Funding section. All bids must be submitted by 5pm Monday 8 June.
...Continue
Ministry of Justice funding boost to PCC for Domestic Abuse services in Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has today (Thursday 21 May) launched a new funding process for services supporting Domestic Abuse victims during the Covid-19 pandemic, where a rise in these crime has been seen nationally. 

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has allocated funds which will compromise of £113,000 for services the Police and Crime Commissioner already commissions and a further £56,500 for services she does not currently fund.

“It’s hugely welcome that this extra emergency help is being made available by the Ministry of Justice during the pandemic. It’s incredibly disturbing that national helplines have seen a surge in calls and this is, naturally, reflected in those needed help right now and those who are likely to have their first chance to access it when the lockdown is raised further,” said PCC Holloway.

All of the applications will be reviewed with the ambition to support organisations and charities of all sizes, reaching as many victims across the county as possible. Applications will need to address how the funding will support the rise seen in Domestic Abuse during the pandemic and relate to the following areas:-
  • IDVAs; Independent Domestic Violence Advisors
  • CHIDVAs; Child focused Independent Domestic Violence Advisors
  • Family Court support
  • Face to face or remote counselling for individuals and/or their families
  • Support for particular groups such as Disabled, LGBT victims or those from Black and Minority Ethnic community groups.
 
“It’s very important to me that these funds are available to help all victims of Domestic Abuse, whatever their gender or cultural background or whether or not they have a disability. Nobody should have to suffer in silence, imprisoned in the very place where they have every right to feel safest; within their own homes,” said Commissioner Holloway.
 
Below is an outline of the process for the funding:
21/05/2020 Bedfordshire OPCC launches application process
05/06/2020 Application process closes. Applications sent after 9am will not be reviewed
11/06/2020 OPCC must provide assurance documentation to MoJ (Ministry of Justice)
16/06/2020 MoJ will issue grant agreements to OPCCs
19/06/2020 OPCCs must return signed grant agreement to MoJ
25/06/2020 OPCCs will receive payment and will issue agreed funds to successful applicants.

For more information and to download the application form, please visit the OPCC website (https://www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/MoJDAFund). Applications will need to be sent to the OPCC via email to PCC-Commissioning@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk by 9am on Friday 5 June 2020.

**Please note, we are aware of issues with the MoJ applications forms. Some boxes have drop down options only. You should be able to still type in that box, but if you experience difficulties, please type in the box in the next column and your appplication will still be considered.**

***UPDATE FRIDAY 29 MAY*** -

There have been ongoing talks with the MoJ, in relation to the deadline of 1st June 2020, for applications to the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Funds. We have just received notification that the deadline has been changed to allow more time for agencies to work on and submit bids. The new deadline is 9am Friday 5 June 2020. If you have already applied, we understand you may now want to use this additional time to work further on your application. If you intend to do this, please include **Resubmission** in the subject title of your email when sending your bid, to ensure the correct bid is reviewed for your organisation.

...Continue