Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC calls on council to deliver on promise to work with police and share survey following 'cynically misleading' political leaflet

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has called on Bedford Borough Council’s Mayor and leading Liberal Democrat group to work with the Force as promised despite a political leaflet distributed as a ‘newspaper’ - the North Bedfordshire Observer - urging her to call on the Government for more funding for policing, as if she had not done so continuously since coming into her role, including sharing a survey on police funding.

 

At her request, the PCC invited all Bedford Borough Councillors to hear from her, the Deputy Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth and Bedfordshire Police’s Chief Finance Officer, Phil Wells, in advance of her proposal to increase the policing precept by a maximum of £2 per month per Band D home in the next year, which will be put to the county’s Police and Crime Panel next month (February 5 2019) in order for the PCC to recruit 160 more Police Constables in 2019-20. 

 

The meeting took place at Bedford Borough Hall last week (on January 16 2019) with councillors of all parties, including the leading Liberal Democrat group, welcoming the Commissioner’s approach to reintroduce and boost Community Policing, as they now take part in Local Priority Area setting meetings each quarter with police to establish the matters which are most important to residents in their areas. Councillors also backed her commitment to raise police numbers by recruitment of 160 more Constables this financial year. Cllr. Alison Foster also praised the introduction of the largest Rural Policing Unit in the seven force Eastern Region and cited her own experience of the regular public engagement of officers in her own area of Harrold.

 

The PCC confirmed that she has worked continuously over the past two years 18 months to very robustly explain the need for sustainable funding of Bedfordshire Police to at least the same level of forces facing comparable crime challenges, such as the third highest level of counter terror in the country, serious organised crime and ‘county lines’ drug and gun dealing networks to and from London and unprecedented levels of gang and knife crime, following the national trend.

 

Yet the Liberal Democrat group distributed a leaflet over last weekend (Sunday 20 January 2019 in the case of the Commissioner’s own home) which stated: “Bedfordshire has a Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner and she must also ask her Government to fund our Police, at least to the same level of other forces.”

 

“I don’t drag politics into policing and I was incredulous, frankly, to read this instruction in a leaflet posted through my own door, as I have been driving the Bedfordshire Police fairer funding message home to the Government and MPs every single week for the whole of my time in office; in absolutely constant contact with the Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, and his two predecessors, two Home Secretaries, all MPs across the county irrespective of political party, the Chancellor, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Prime Minister herself, in person.

 

“That’s precisely why I was personally successful in winning a unique £4.571m Policing Special Grant for Bedfordshire Police in December 2018 as well as its new £8m funding for 2019-20 as part of the national Policing Settlement for all 43 forces, just before Christmas.

 

“I formally wrote to the Mayor and asked for him and his council to write to the Chancellor before the Policing Settlement to throw their weight behind the door to back me in calling for a much better settlement for Bedfordshire Police this year yet I’ve never seen such a letter. I’ve repeatedly asked for joint working beyond politics to help Bedfordshire Police and that’s exactly what councillors across the entire Borough Council voiced their support for just last week.

 

“We have to stop treating policing like a political football and start working together as all the Bedford Borough councillors who spoke at the meeting told me they wanted, including some very positive and supportive messages from the Liberal Democrat ruling group themselves,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

PCC Holloway also queried the format of the political leaflet as the title of the glossy four page publication - “North Bedfordshire Observer” - suggested that it was a newspaper, despite a single line at the top in much smaller print stating “Delivered by Lib Dem volunteers.”

 

“I am a former news reporter who has worked across local, regional and national news for more than 20 years. I know people tend to trust editorial in newspapers which has been written by independent journalists much more than political leaflets. For this reason, I used a wrap-around our existing newspaper, The Bedford Times and Citizen, before my own election, rather than mislead people by sending out something which has been designed specifically to look and sound like a newspaper even down to the “free” label on the title, when no political leaflet is ever charged for. This was cynically misleading.

 

“But what was truly cynical was to say the party is backing fair funding for Bedfordshire Police when they have already been given the chance to do so, in writing, by me and to imply that I have not done what I have continuously done for more than two and a half years.

 

“Nevertheless, now the Lib Dems are copying my own office in running a survey on police funding, which we have been doing for weeks, I have written to the Mayor and asked him to put politics aside and add his own survey results to ours to deliver the views of an even larger section of the population to the Police and Crime Panel next month, when setting the budget and to assist approval of the police precept rise to allow me to recruit those 160 officers.

 

“I have asked the Mayor to set politics aside and work fully with me and Bedfordshire Police to do what we were both elected to do - protect the public in and around Bedford - and I trust that the two Liberal Democrat members on the panel will now attend and vote for the funding uplift this year,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

Members of the public can comment on the Commissioner’s proposed council tax rise on www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/precept2019 and also contribute to the Liberal Democrat survey at bedfordlibdems.org.uk/policemoney.

 
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Over 3.7 million pounds worth of bids submitted to PCC's Grant Fund, up more than 1m on last year

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has received applications for her 2019/20 Grant Fund totalling over £3.7 million worth of bids to help victims and reduce crime in Bedfordshire.

The application process for the Grant Fund was officially launched at the end of the year (Tuesday 11 December 2018) and closed on Friday 11 January. Some 69 applications have been received. The Grant Fund is created by combining a grant from the Ministry of Justice and funding from the Bedfordshire Police budget producing a flexible grant opportunity aimed at promoting innovative and collaborative working across Bedfordshire.

“What I’m particularly delighted about is that the word about my grant funding is getting out to more people than ever before as I’ve made it clear that I don’t just want all the usual suspects to apply but people with fantastic ideas to help victims or make their communities safer but who may never have applied for a public sector grant in their lives!


“I’d like to assure this group that this will be taken into account by me and my panels hearing the applications and that we will give help to develop some of the best ideas,” said the Commissioner.

“More than £1m more in bids have been submitted this year than last - £3.7m now as opposed to £2.6m in 2018-19. This does, of course, mean that with only a total of £1.6m to distribute, a lot of people are not going to be successful but I intend, as always, to make this money go as far as possible and to favour projects which are funded from more than one source so partners are genuinely invested and working together,” she added.

 

Last year, the Commissioner funded an enhanced new service for all victims of crime in Bedfordshire, called Signpost. The free and confidential service is a one-stop-shop for all the information a victim of crime needs to know. Signpost consists of a call centre of specialist Victim Care Coordinators, available on Freephone 0800 0282 887, running six days a week (Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm). Signpost also has an online directory of all support services for those affected by different crimes (and a section telling them what will happen next if they report these crimes to the police) at signpostforbedfordshire.com.

 
In the coming year, PCC Holloway intends to provide a similar service for former offenders to also draw together contact information for all services available to support them in Bedfordshire into one online home, backed by a call c entre of specialists. The new service will launch in April and will be called Direction.


In the last round of grants, the PCC also commissioned multiple organisations supporting victims of Domestic Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation and other crimes against women and children such as Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage. Organisations such as the Anne Frank Trust received funds to work in schools across the county to combat prejudice and prevent Hate Crime through the story of Anne Frank and the PCC established Bedfordshire’s first dedicated counselling service to help male victims of sexual and domestic abuse. 


The process is still ongoing, with the Commissioning team currently assessing bids. A selection of the 69 applicants will then be invited over the next two months to present to the PCC and a panel of members from across Bedfordshire who will then decide if any of the £1.6m of grant funding will be allocated to them.

“It’s important that the process is seen to be fair, open and transparent. The politically independent Chair of the Police and Crime Panel, Paul Cain, will join me and there will be representation from young people in the criminal justice system for applications relating to them as well as from minorities in our communities,” said Commissioner Holloway.

More information on the commissioning process can be found at
www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk in the Campaigns & Initiatives section under Funding Opportunities. Anyone with any questions should contact the OPCC on 01234 842064 or email PCC-Commissioning@Bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.

 
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PCC and top team from Bedfordshire Police meet residents of Houghton Regis in public meeting to discuss investment in local policing throughout the county

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, was joined by the Deputy and Assistant Chief Constables of Bedfordshire Police and members of the community team to meet residents to explain their plans for local policing at a public meeting in Houghton Regis (Monday January 14 2019).

 

The PCC opened the event at the Bedford Square Community Centre in Tithe Farm Road, Houghton Regis, by explaining the investment she is insisting on in new officers for local policing following her successful bid to the Home Office for a unique £4.571m emergency payment from the Special Policing Grant Fund and £8m in the Policing Settlement for all 43 forces in England and Wales for 2019-20, which was announced by Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, immediately before Christmas.

 

She explained that the Special Grant win had prevented an overspend which would have stopped recruitment in its tracks, following the unprecedented cost of fighting gang, gun and knife crime in the county. She revealed that the Policing Settlement had meant that she is insisting on investment in 160 new Police Constables this financial year and provision for 100 more in each of the following two years as the Government has made it clear that, by giving her the option of raising council tax by a maximum of £2 per month for a Band D home, improvements in local policing must be the result.

 

“I’m fully aware that this is a huge ask when Bedfordshire Police is also facing huge pressures of costs which increase each year with inflation. This coming year they include an anticipated pay settlement of 2% for officers and staff, a trebling of insurance for police vehicles and £115,000 to cover a shortfall in pensions nationally, despite extra income from Government in the Policing Settlement in two new grants of £1.318m and £1.117m to help with these pressures,” Commissioner Holloway told the audience.

 

“The increase in officers is necessary because it’s what every member of the public in every community tells me they want and it’s what the frontline at Bedfordshire Police need too. What’s more, the Government has made it absolutely clear that a council tax increase must produce improvements in local policing - that’s what people will primarily be paying more for - and if it doesn’t happen, in my view Bedfordshire Police would have absolutely no chance of having its fundamental funding position improved in the next Spending Review,” she said.

 

The Deputy Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth, confirmed the priority the Commissioner has placed for the Force in recruiting 160 officers in this financial year and explained that, in addition to the Government grant and council tax income, Bedfordshire Police will have to make further savings to achieve this.

 

“The Force has already had to make cuts of £34.7m since 2010 which has, of course, had an impact on the service we can provide to the public. We deal incredibly well with Serious Organised Crime at one end of the scale and protecting the most vulnerable at the other but we recognise that those in the middle, like some of you in this audience, can feel left out and let down at times when you call us over anti social behaviour or vehicle thefts and we don’t have the number of officers to respond because they are having to deal with situations which are life-threatening.

 

“At the moment we’re engaged in a process to examine every single officer and item of expenditure across the first half of the Force and we are finding efficiencies of up to £4m to avoid cuts in service. We will finish this at the end of January and then we’ll look at the other half. We’re also finding areas which need further investment, so it’s a complex picture but we are investing in local policing as your local Community Hub team shows and the Commissioner has made it absolutely clear to me what she expects,” said DCC Forsyth.

 

The audience was urged to have its say to support the PCC’s proposed rise in the local policing precept by just £2 a month for a Band D Home, as members of the audience indicated they were happy to do, in her current survey to gather as many views as possible of the public and partners, such as councillors. Members of the public can register their views at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/precept2019.

 

ACC Jackie Sebire and the senior officer responsible for Community Policing, Chief Supt. David Boyle both addressed local issues of concern in the Houghton Regis area, including unauthorised traveller encampments. ACC Sebire confirmed that she receives reports each morning of every illegal encampment in the county, that these are visited very regularly and that motor tax, insurance and MOT compliance are checked for all vehicles, contrary to popular belief, as contravention of these regulations would cross a threshold of criminality which allows police to use their Section 61 powers and move travellers on.

 

Chief Supt. Boyle and DCC Forsyth explained the difference between these police powers, which require a measure of anti social behaviour and criminality to be met in law before they can be used, and the Section 61 powers which would allow police to force travellers to move to a temporary site, if one was provided by Central Bedfordshire Council, with whom the Force is in negotiation concerning this provision.

 

The DCC confirmed that travellers using such a site have to pay a fee to use it which increases every day and also for utilities, which has proved a deterrent in other parts of the country.

 

The meeting was also addressed by (Acting) Inspector Craig Gurr of the town’s Community Hub team, which is shared with neighbouring Dunstable. The Hub currently consists of:-

* 1 Inspector

* 1 Sergeant

* 4 Police Constables

* 5 PCSOs

 

Sgt. Gurr detailed the recent work of the Hub officers, who are dedicated to problem solving in communities and meeting local area priorities set at regular meetings with town councillors and those from Central Bedfordshire Council. He revealed that this work has included the successful closure of a crack house in the town, six warrants since April to counter those dealing in cannabis and other drugs and successful action to deal with the problem of street drinkers, including fixed penalty notices to shops and off licences selling alcohol to those who are already inebriated. He also stressed the need for the community to pass on intelligence to police to alert them to drug dealing and other issues. The next Local Area Priority setting meeting will be on January 28.

 

He also pointed to the problems facing police in dealing with drug dealers and nuisance motorcyclists who use the local busway, cycle paths and a warren of hiding spaces in older social housing developments to escape or hide from view and the need for the community to work closely with police to counter this.

 

Chief Supt. Boyle stressed that those wishing to pass on information entirely anonymously concerning matters such as names, vehicles and registration numbers of those involved, could do so via the confidential Crimestoppers number - 0800 555 111 - where callers are untraceable. 

 

Commissioner Holloway pointed to the success of the new Facebook page, Dunstable and Houghton Regis Community Policing Team, with posts reaching  4,792 in one recent case.

 

“If you want to know what your Community Hub team is up to, working on your behalf day after day, please take a look on Facebook rather than listening to rumour and speculation. Where reporting crime is concerned, please don’t think that posting your comments about crime and anti social behaviour on other Facebook sites is the same as reporting it to police. Please call them on 101, or 999 if it’s a life-threatening matter of course,” she said.

 

DCC Forsyth said he understood it could be frustrating to face delays on 101 at peak times but that Bedfordshire Police compares very favourably with the performance of other forces in terms of the total number of calls and the time taken to answer them on this national call line number.

 

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PCC launches consultation on change to precept to boost the frontline
As you may be aware I have consistently informed those in the highest position in our Government and the public in Bedfordshire that the level of funding and, therefore, police officers we have in Bedfordshire Police are far too low for the level and type of demand we face in protecting the public. The Chief Constable is operating with approximately 380 less officers than he needs. To address this balance, I am consulting with you to understand whether or not you would be prepared to contribute an extra £2 per month through your Council Tax to increase the number of officers the Chief Constable would have to police Bedfordshire and create further capacity in his ability to protect the public of Bedfordshire. I intend to fund recruitment of 160 officers in 2019/20 with these funds.  

I would like to invite you to share your opinion on this decision by completing a short survey - https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/precept2019
 
The results will be collated and presented to the Police and Crime Panel on 5 February 2019 which is the authoritative body which holds the Police and Crime Commissioner to account.
 
I appreciate your time and consideration regarding this issue and look forward to receiving your response.

Kathryn Holloway

 
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One week left to apply for Bedfordshire PCC's Grant Fund
With just seven days left to apply, organisations which run projects preventing offending, protecting communities and supporting victims of crime to cope, recover and move forward are being urged to submit their application for the PCC’s Grant Fund now.

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, launched the 2019/20 Grant Fund application process at the beginning of December, and the window of opportunity is due to close on Friday 11 January. The PCC’s Grant Fund of approximately £1.6m is created by combining a grant from the Ministry of Justice and funding from the Bedfordshire Police Force budget which produces a flexible and accessible grant opportunity aimed at promoting innovative and collaborative working across Bedfordshire. 

“I’m particularly interested in projects from within communities themselves rather than all the 'usual suspects’ to tackle gang, gun and knife crime and in the principle of early intervention with very young children to help them become more resilient and go on to play a full part in society if faced with all the adverse early experiences including living in households where there is domestic abuse, drug and alcohol addiction and poverty where their development is neglected,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“My office will help with advice if people have never applied for a grant like this before and the grant can be for any sum from £50 to £50,000 if the idea and evidence are good enough. 

“Where established organisations are concerned, I will fund projects where I am not the only one making the investment since properly joined up working means more than one organisation putting its hands in its pockets and developing a service together,” said the PCC.

Last year, the Commissioner funded an enhanced new service for all victims of crime in Bedfordshire, called Signpost. The free and confidential service is a one-stop-shop for all the information a victim of crime needs to know. Signpost consists of a call centre of specialist Victim Care Coordinators, available on freephone 0800 0282 887, running six days a week (Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm). Signpost also has an online directory of all support services for those affected by different crimes (and a section telling them what will happen next if they report these crimes to the police) at signpostforbedfordshire.com.

Signpost contacts victims of a crime within 24 hours where officers believe they may benefit from extra support and aims to give first class support and care to both victims and those also affected by crime, such as partners, children or parents. It also provides access to Restorative Justice, which brings those harmed by crime and those responsible for the harm together, often face to face in a safe environment, enabling those affected by a particular incident to express their views of what the crime meant to them and to find a more positive way forward. The new service provided help to more victims than were said to have been assisted by its predecessor over the whole of the last year, in just two months from its launch on 1 April 2018.

“I’m absolutely delighted by the success of the Signpost service which has quite literally transformed the services for victims in Bedfordshire. This coming year I intend to repeat this model - of an online directory of all services and a one-stop-shop of specialist advisors to work with offenders this time, to try to give genuine assistance to those emerging from prison to avoid setting them up for failure on release. This service will be called Direction and we aim to launch in the Spring,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The PCC has commissioned multiple organisations supporting victims of Domestic Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation and other crimes against women and children such as Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage. In 2018-19, Commissioner Holloway also funded organisations such as the Anne Frank Trust to work in schools across the county to combat prejudice and prevent Hate Crime through the story of Anne Frank and established Bedfordshire’s first dedicated counselling service to help male victims of sexual and domestic abuse. 

The Commissioning Fund is now open and details can be found in the Campaigns and Initiatives section of the OPCC website,
www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk under Funding Opportunities. Applications close on Friday 11 January 2019 at 5pm. If you have any questions, please contact the OPCC on 01234 842064 or email PCC-Commissioning@Bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.
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PCC marks record-breaking year for Bedfordshire Police and sets out her priorities for 2019
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has pointed to the achievements of officers, Special Constables and police staff in a record breaking year for the Force in 2018, as she set out her own priorities for the year ahead.

The PCC pointed to over 8,600 arrests and the recording of 55,700 crimes across 2018 by the Force which has just over 1,100 officers to serve a population of approximately 670,000 across the county. 

Over 108,000 999 emergency calls and 287,000 101 calls for non life-threatening matters were taken. Bedfordshire Police dealt with 448 knife-related crimes and 102 incidents involving guns. Some 1,769 missing people were dealt with. Over 30 properties were closed as a result of Anti Social Behaviour by their occupants, as a result of the work of Community Hub officers.

“These are truly extraordinary figures for a force the size of Bedfordshire Police and reflect a huge achievement for every officer and member of staff.  I hope that if any caller is unable to be visited by a police officer straight away, the public will take a moment to reflect on why each and every call has to be assessed for the degree of threat, harm and risk which the incident represents in order to determine whether an immediate response can be sent or not as Response officers will be dispatched to those incidents which are a genuine life-threatening matter as a priority.

“Bedfordshire Police is a very small force compared with the type of crime challenges which officers have to deal with day after day and around the clock but these figures don’t lie. This is the reality of the response which they are delivering, frankly against all the odds, and the public should both be proud of them and give them every possible support,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“This includes making sure that every call to 999 is a genuinely life-threatening emergency or a crime in progress, such as a burglary where the offender is in the property, as I’ve sat in the Force Control Room when someone has called up to complain about the quality of their take-away before!” said the PCC. 

Bedfordshire Police’s Special Constables, who give their services for free but who are trained by the Force and hold exactly the same powers as regular warranted officers, also marked up an impressive record of 44,404 hours of duties.

“This is incredible for such a small force to have Specials who contribute this amount of time. We simply could not do without them. I would like to urge anyone who thinks they could spare 16 hours a month to join up. Bedfordshire Police will train you and, even if you don’t feel that a full time police career lies in your future, imagine what this says to a future employer or university about your trustworthiness and character. You might even change your mind, in which case you have had the chance to try out the job first,” said Commissioner Holloway.

Details about regular recruitment or joining the Special Constabulary can be found on the Force’s website: bedfordshire.police.uk

The PCC also set out her own priorities in 2019:-

 * The recruitment of 160 new officers in this financial year.

 * The creation of a new Sexual Assaults Referral Centre in a reassuring, non-medical, environment with separate facilities for adults, teenagers and children.

 * The launch of a one stop shop to help prevent the cycle of re-offending, with an online hub of services to direct ex-offenders and a call centre of specialists backed by dedicated advisors on benefits and employment in Jobcentres across the county.

 * Emphasis in the PCC’s new Grants Commissioning process on projects to help prevent gang and knife crime and on early intervention, before the age of 10, to give children living in crime hotspots better life chances.

“Every community I speak to wants more police officers and the unique Special Grant of £4.571m I won before Christmas, when combined with the new Policing Settlement of £8m, means that Bedfordshire Police will not only be able to continue to recruit but that we can recruit 160 new Police Constables this financial year. We can also continue the battle against gang, gun and knife crime,” said Commissioner Holloway. 

“It’s also a priority for me to establish a new Sexual Assaults Referral Centre which is fit for the future and which provides dedicated areas for victims according to their own ages and needs as it’s common sense to me that, for example, a 16-year-old is not going to feel comfortable and reassured in an area with toys for very young children around them at a time when they have been through a highly traumatic experience. 

“I also want to coordinate response to those who have offended but who want to go straight by providing access to all the support services they may need to achieve this in a single place. This will consist of an online directory of those services with a translation facility as well as a team of call centre specialists plus help, that has now been agreed with my office, in every one of the county’s Jobcentres. My staff, working with the Force and our partners such as the National Probation Service and the Community Rehabilitation Company, aim to launch this in the Spring.

“We’ve all been horrified by the level of serious youth violence throughout 2018 and, while the rise in Bedfordshire has been below the levels seen in the capital, given the emphasis placed on prevention by Bedfordshire Police and those organisations I’ve funded in communities, we need to do more and this is one key priority of my current grants process.

“I’ve also been influenced by the work of the University of Cardiff in providing proof to the Home Office and all PCCs of the life-long effects of what they call ACE experiences - Adverse Childhood Experiences - including domestic abuse, crime, drug and alcohol abuse and deprivation in the home of a child under 10 combined with their evidence that this can be mitigated by very early intervention to support those children. As a direct result, I’ve appointed a head of Early Intervention to work with projects coming to me through the grants process this year to help in this vital area,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The PCC’s grants process for 2019-20 is now open but the closing date for applications in January 11 2019. Details can be found on the website - bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk - in the Campaigns and Initiatives section.

“I favour applications where more than one organisation is funding the work to help victims or promote community safety as then we’re genuinely jointly invested and working together effectively but I’m also absolutely prepared to do as I did last year and work with groups from within communities who have never applied for a grant before in their lives but who have a fantastic idea or drive to make a difference such as the Right Time to Shine youth club and recording studio in Lewsey Farm in Luton and Channitta Lendore who works with young people to divert them away from gang violence, following the death of her brother Isaac,” said the PCC.

“Don’t hold back. Please contact my office if you need help and the directions are there on the website as well as the way to apply,” she said. 
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PCC holds Partners' Conference to encourage more effective joint working with Bedfordshire Police in the county and set priorities for her funding in 2019
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, held a conference for Partners - inviting organisations from across the county to focus on the year ahead and how best to serve the people of Bedfordshire, working more closely with Bedfordshire Police. 

The event, which took place in Luton at Venue 360 (Tuesday 11 December), was attended by over 95 representatives working for Bedfordshire's public services, charities and organisations supporting victims together with those from local authorities and community members. Throughout the day, there was an opportunity for organisations to present on work they had completed this year or projects they are currently working on, which allowed 26 presentations to be made in total for partners to gain a greater understanding of the work of their colleagues. 

“This is the second conference my office has held for partners and it is going to be an annual event. We simply can’t work as effectively as possible with Bedfordshire Police if we don’t know one another exists or the detail of the projects which we might all benefit from - and fund together as a result to make public money go as far as possible,” said Commissioner Holloway.
 
“The range of projects my office was able to introduce to partners was truly diverse, from an app to monitor harmful content being generated by children on their mobile phones to prevent bullying, sexual exploitation and even radicalisation, by the company Safe to Net, to the work being done to get prisoners to challenge their own long term views of themselves and turn their lives around, from Reactive8.
 
“This year my fund will focus on the prevention of serious youth violence with particular emphasis on very early intervention before the age of 10 to create mentors and safe spaces for children who are at risk of being sucked into criminality more generally and knife carrying and gang involvement in particular. It will also focus on the prevention of reoffending and ways to ensure those leaving prison or the wider Criminal Justice system, such as the Magistrates’ Courts, are not being set up to fail, without access to the support services they need,” said PCC Holloway.

Mark Turner, Chief Exec of Road Victims Trust, said: “The day served as a fantastic opportunity to showcase the work of so many groups and organisations who work tirelessly for the benefit of others. This type of coordinated response, supported and funded by the PCC, is making a significant and positive difference to the lives of many Bedfordshire residents.”

Teyba Seyed, Project Coordinator at the One Stop Advice & Training centre in Luton, said: “We found the event to be very useful not only in terms of networking and discovering other services available within the locality, but we also found that the event was very beneficial in terms of highlighting what we can all do as one unit to help improve the society. We hope you will continue to work with local businesses to make a difference as we find that events like these really help bridge the gap between the police and the general public.”

Commissioner Holloway and her team presented to the attendees, informing them of the PCC’s 2019/20 Commissioning Grant Fund which has just opened for applications to help pay for projects which prevent offending, protect communities and support victims of crime to cope, recover and move forward with their lives.

The Commissioner also outlined her plans to focus on reducing reoffending in the county, by launching ‘Direction’, a one stop shop providing offenders and their families with a support network made up of an online directory of all services to help those who want to break the cycle of crime and a call centre of specialist advisors to help direct them to those services of most use to each individual.

“This is a Team Bedfordshire approach to deal with the revolving door syndrome of prisoners leaving detention only to re-offend and return and it is the first time all these services will be brought to one point of access, through Direction, to help ex offenders with the support they need,” said the PCC.

The Commissioning Fund is now open and details can be found on the website under Funding Opportunities. Applications close on Friday 11 January 2019 at 5pm. Those with queries should contact the OPCC on 01234 842064 or email PCC-Commissioning@Bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.

 
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Battling PCC and Chief win 8 million pounds boost for Bedfordshire Police and thank 'Team Bedfordshire' for their support
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, and Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, were today celebrating an £8m win for Bedfordshire Police to deliver more officers to the frontline and plug a hole in the budget from a national pensions shortfall.

The Policing Settlement for 2019-20 will bring £8m extra into the coffers of cash-strapped Bedfordshire Police and was made up of £1.3m in extra core grant, £1.1m in a contribution for pensions, with the Treasury having calculated that the PCC will be able to raise £5.6m from council tax, if raising the precept by the maximum allowed of £24 per year for a Band D home.

The PCC and Chief Constable have fought a robust and hard-hitting campaign over the past two-and-a-half years to land the message with Government that Bedfordshire Police is the least-appropriately funded force in view of its particular challenges, which consist of what has been assessed as the third highest terror threat in the country, serious organised crime to and from the nearby capital and gang, gun and knife crime issues - with an estimated 40 per cent of all gunshots fired in the entire East of England area, from Norfolk to Kent, being fired in Bedfordshire.

“Finally, the funding of Bedfordshire Police is moving in the right direction with the Home Office and Treasury having clearly woken up to the need for action, given the gap between the frontline I can afford and that which is needed in a county facing such serious and complex crime, together with the burden that the recent pensions shortfall had placed on the budget; but all that will matter to the communities of Bedfordshire is what this means in extra officers and I anticipate that I will now be able to support Bedfordshire Police to recruit 160 new Police Constables in the coming financial year and 100 more in each of the two years beyond this, as well as balancing the books where police pensions are concerned,” said Commissioner Holloway.

"This is an achievement not only for me as PCC and my Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, who have so robustly and publicly made our case, but for the whole of 'Team Bedfordshire’; our MPs across party politics and especially Andrew Selous in the South West, who led the charge in Parliament! I also want to thank those in our town councils, like Biggleswade and Sandy, who, when I asked them to do so, wrote to the Chancellor to make their views known and every councillor and member of the public who supported us by doing likewise as they did not just criticise Bedfordshire Police, or offer just words, but action.

"This feels like the greatest achievement of my professional life to get this far - it’s certainly been the hardest battle - to land the arguments about Bedfordshire Police with those who hold the purse strings; especially as it comes less than a month after I won my unique £4.571m Special Policing Grant bid for emergency funding, to meet unprecedented costs already incurred by Bedfordshire Police, to fight gun, gang and knife crime," said the PCC.

Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “We still need to fully analyse the figures to understand what this means for Bedfordshire Police, but any increase is encouraging and today’s announcement shows the government is aware of the financial pressures forces are under nationally. Ultimately this increase in funding will allow the organisation to grow. The ability to raise council tax precepts is a matter for our Police & Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, but I’m sure she will want to explore this option to increase the number of officers we have on the front line in our communities.

“Today’s announcement follows the recent £4.571m Special Policing Grant given to the force to pay for the work we have had to carry out this year into gangs, guns and knife crime. We have already started future financial planning and will be seeking further grants to allow us to be more proactive and prevent such issues before they begin.”

“I don’t want to completely overstate the position; the Government has promised to provide Bedfordshire Police with a sustainable year-on-year settlement when it revises the national funding formula for all forces in England and Wales at the end of 2020; but neither should it be underestimated that this is a huge help. It will take a while to filter through to communities as new PCs take around a year to recruit before they start their training, but we’re well placed to build on our current recruitment programme and, while we will be a force with a pretty young frontline, my view is that this is exactly what we need; a young, enthusiastic and driven set of intakes to help their exceptional colleagues,” said the Commissioner.

“The morale boost this should give to our officers, as well as the public, to know extra numbers are heading over the horizon should not be under-estimated.

“I’m not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes: this is a single year deal and I have provided evidence to Government (in the Demand and Funding Analysis Report of October 2017) that we need 300 more officers and 80 more detectives just to come up to comparable levels with those police forces facing similar crime demands and it needs to be made sustainable, as promised, from 2020 when the whole funding formula is revised, but it would also deliberately mislead the public to suggest that this is not very good news indeed,” said PCC Holloway.

“I came into the role of Bedfordshire Police to give the Force a voice but, believe me, they’ve given me something to shout about. When given the means to do so, Bedfordshire Police produces some of the most exceptional policing in the country, as their command of the leading Counter Terror Intelligence Unit and Regional Organised Crime Unit, which are separately funded for the whole of the East, clearly shows. Now the challenge is to make this helpful money work as far as possible on a local basis against a backdrop of unprecedented rises in demand,” she said.

The Policing Settlement specifically contributed to help forces fund the majority of a £302m shortfall in police pensions across the 43 police forces of England and Wales, of which Bedfordshire Police’s share is currently estimated to be £2.85m over the next two years.

Protocol means the PCC is not able to announce whether she will raise the precept by the maximum allowed without a referendum - £24 a year, or just £2 per month for a Band D home - until her precept intentions are submitted to the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel in February 2019.

 
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PCC launches Grant Fund to help victims, reduce offending and build community safety in Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has today (Tuesday 11 December 2018) launched her Grant Fund for 2019/20 and is inviting applications to help pay for projects which prevent offending, protect communities and support victims of crime to cope, recover and move forward with their lives.

The PCC’s Grant Fund of approximately £1.6m is created by combining a grant from the Ministry of Justice and funding from the Bedfordshire Police Force budget which produces a flexible and accessible grant opportunity aimed at promoting innovative and collaborative working across Bedfordshire. 

“I’m particularly interested in projects from within communities themselves rather than all the 'usual suspects’ to tackle gang, gun and knife crime and in the principle of early intervention with very young children to help them become more resilient and go on to play a full part in society if faced with all the adverse early experiences including living in households where there is domestic abuse, drug and alcohol addiction and poverty where their development is neglected,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“My office will help with advice if people have never applied for a grant like this before and the grant can be for any sum from £50 to £50,000 if the idea and evidence are good enough. 

“Where established organisations are concerned, I will fund projects where I am not the only one making the investment since properly joined up working means more than one organisation putting its hands in its pockets and developing a service together,” said the PCC.

Last year, the Commissioner funded an enhanced new service for all victims of crime in Bedfordshire, called Signpost. The free and confidential service is a one-stop-shop for all the information a victim of crime needs to know. Signpost consists of a call centre of specialist Victim Care Coordinators, available on freephone 0800 0282 887, running six days a week (Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm). Signpost also has an online directory of all support services for those affected by different crimes (and a section telling them what will happen next if they report these crimes to the police) at signpostforbedfordshire.com.

Signpost contacts victims of a crime within 24 hours where officers believe they may benefit from extra support and aims to give first class support and care to both victims and those also affected by crime, such as partners, children or parents. It also provides access to Restorative Justice, which brings those harmed by crime and those responsible for the harm together, often face to face in a safe environment, enabling those affected by a particular incident to express their views of what the crime meant to them and to find a more positive way forward. The new service provided help to more victims than were said to have been assisted by its predecessor over the whole of the last year, in just two months from its launch on 1 April 2018.

“I’m absolutely delighted by the success of the Signpost service which has quite literally transformed the services for victims in Bedfordshire. This coming year I intend to repeat this model - of an online directory of all services and a one-stop-shop of specialist advisors to work with offenders this time, to try to give genuine assistance to those emerging from prison to avoid setting them up for failure on release. This service will be called Direction and we aim to launch in the Spring,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The PCC has commissioned multiple organisations supporting victims of Domestic Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation and other crimes against women and children such as Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage. In 2018-19, Commissioner Holloway also funded organisations such as the Anne Frank Trust to work in schools across the county to combat prejudice and prevent Hate Crime through the story of Anne Frank and established Bedfordshire’s first dedicated counselling service to help male victims of sexual and domestic abuse. 

The Commissioning Fund is now open and details can be found on the website under Funding Opportunities. Applications close on Friday 11 January 2019 at 5pm. If you have any questions, please contact the OPCC on 01234 842064 or email PCC-Commissioning@Bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.
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PCC wins unprecedented bid for emergency funding for Bedfordshire Police

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has won her bid for £4.571m in a unique emergency funding application to the Home Office to cover the unprecedented cost of fighting gang, gun and knife crime in the county.


The Policing Special Grant was raised by the Government to £93m in the Policing Settlement of December 2017. The fund has typically covered single events outside ‘business as usual’ for police forces, such as a terror attack, but Commissioner Holloway argued that the cost of fighting a surge in gun, gang and knife crime in Bedfordshire has represented just such a unique pressure on the Force.

“It’s genuinely a first that this type of grant is being paid to us at all: usually only single events which are not part of the usual workload of a force qualify for a Special Grant but I've fought all year to land the argument that the nature of the gang, gun and knife issues we face represents precisely that extraordinary challenge for Bedfordshire Police.

"I raised the argument that the Policing Settlement of December 2017 was inadequate for this Force with the Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, on the same day he announced it almost a year ago. I met him and the Police Funding team from the Home Office in February to lay out our case and ever since then the Chief Finance Officer and I, backed superbly by the Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, have been battling to land our argument that emergency financial help is an absolute necessity for Bedfordshire Police.

“I'm absolutely delighted that the Minister and the Home Office have been listening - as has the police watchdog (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services) HMICFRS, who have to recommend that a bid is accepted, and that my bid for £4.571m is to be granted in full.

"This will cover the entire cost of Op Boson, the Force’s specialist response to gang, gun and knife crime, which has placed an unprecedented strain on us over the past two years, together with the spend on this area calculated for this financial year,” said the PCC.

Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “This is fantastic news for Bedfordshire Police and will pay the Force back some of the additional costs we have had to pay to respond to those serious and complex issues, including guns, gangs and knife-crime, that we are not currently adequately financed to deal with.

“The funding issues faced by this Force are no secret and we have worked hard to highlight the issues of being a rurally-funded force having to deal with complex crime challenges usually seen in large metropolitan areas.

"Nationally, policing is facing broader and more complex demand that it has ever seen before. I hope this is an indication of the recognition of the support that national policing desperately requires."

Bedfordshire Police’s Chief Finance Officer, Phil Wells, worked closely with the Home Office throughout 2018 to provide evidence to support the PCC’s argument concerning the unique challenge which fighting gun, gang and knife crime is representing for the Force.

The emergency bid will not end Bedfordshire Police’s financial woes as it covers money which has already largely been spent but it does protect the Force from an overspend this financial year.

"It gives me breathing space with the budget as we had been heading for a substantial overspend. It does not mean that I will let up on my argument - either in public or private - over our core funding position, both before the announcement next month of our 2019/20 budget (together with that for other forces) and beyond,” said Commissioner Holloway.

"If the settlement for next year falls short of the £10m per annum I have evidenced fully that Bedfordshire Police needs and I am given the flexibility to raise the precept without spending approximately £1 million on a referendum, I will not hesitate to do so to make up the difference.

"I am determined to do all that I possibly can as Bedfordshire’s PCC to get funding for the 300 officers and 80 detectives that we have provided evidence to the Home Office that we need to bring us to a level which is simply comparable with forces facing the same challenges and to support our officers and staff in everything that they do for the public in Bedfordshire.

"But it’s very good to be sharing some positive financial news for once as this could have been a Black Friday announcement for Bedfordshire Police and instead it’s been a very welcome Christmas present!” she said.

The Commissioner also praised the work of the county’s MPs in supporting her in making Bedfordshire Police’s case to Ministers on a cross party basis.

“The South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous has been outstanding in his ongoing efforts to draw attention to the plight of Bedfordshire Police, whose funding and officer numbers are simply inadequate for the very serious crime challenges it faces including the third highest terror threat in the country, serious organised crime imported from London and overseas via the M1 and A1, national rail services and Luton Airport and very significant gun supply and county line drug dealing activity to and from the capital. Nadine Dorries, in Central Bedfordshire, and Alistair Burt in North Bedfordshire have also kept attention on the issue with the Policing Minister, Home Secretary and now Chancellor.

“Bedford Labour MP Mohammad Yasin asked a question in the House about my Special Grant bid and Kelvin Hopkins in Luton also wrote on my behalf to the Policing Minister. I'm enormously grateful to every one of them for their support on a cross party basis, which is one thing which I believe helped to make Bedfordshire’s argument stand out.

"We now just need to wait until next month to see whether the Chancellor was also listening and whether he understands the absolutely genuine case for funding assistance for Bedfordshire Police moving forward and that this is contained in the new Policing Settlement,” said Commissioner Holloway."

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National Farmers Union meets PCC and police team to discuss rural crime and launch new Crimestoppers reporting line

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has met with members of the National Farmers’ Union to discuss rural crime in the county and launch a new anonymous reporting line dedicated to the rural community and stopping crime in the countryside.  

The meeting, which was held on Monday (12 November) at Scald End Farm in Thurleigh, was attended by farmers from across Bedfordshire wishing to discuss concerns over fly tipping, theft and criminal damage to crops and buildings, as well as hare coursing. 

The Commissioner was able to confirm that Bedfordshire now has the largest specialist Rural Crime Team in the whole of the seven force East of England area, from Norfolk to Kent.

“When I came into the role as PCC we didn’t have even one rural crime officer at Bedfordshire Police. But those who live in the countryside pay their taxes too and deserve a fair share of policing. They needed to have police officers who fully understand the very specific laws governing crimes which take place purely as a result of a rural setting, such as hare coursing causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to land and threats of serious violence to farmers who find themselves alone with these criminals in isolated locations, or fly-tipping or hunt-related crimes,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

“I’m so pleased that the NFU have recognised the work that’s been done since then, starting with a single Rural Crime Sergeant, then a business case to prove the need for a rural team and now Op Sentinel Rural which has grown to be the largest such team in the whole of the East, working out of Dunstable police station for the south of the county and now Riseley station, at least two days a week, for those in the north,” she said.
 

The Commissioner asked the audience to pass on details of the new, wholly anonymous, crime reporting line set up by the NFU and Crimestoppers on the freephone line 0800 7830137 and website - www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk.

“Sometimes, because of the isolated locations where people live in the Bedfordshire countryside, they're worried about being associated with a crime report. The new Crimestoppers line is absolutely confidential and, just like the main Crimestoppers service, they couldn’t identify a caller even if they - or police - wanted to. It’s another way of encouraging people to come forward and share vital crime intelligence,” said PCC Holloway.

During the meeting, those attending heard from Bedfordshire Police’s Chief Superintendent David Boyle and Inspector Steve Callow, who both provided an update on the work of the Rural Crime Team, which has included running operations and days of action targeting illegal encampments, hare coursing and criminal damage.

Inspector Steve Callow, said: “This was an excellent initiative by the NFU to help us engage with and better understand our rural communities.


“Rural communities face specific challenges such as hare coursing, fly tipping and the isolation that comes from where they live.

 

“As well as the work of our rural crime team, we have also been giving education and training to our response officers to improve their understanding of rural crime.

 

“We want to reassure our rural communities that we are listening and working to deliver a comprehensive response in this area.”

 

Chief Superintendent David Boyle said: “The NFU have been an incredible support over the last years and we’re really looking forward to continuing working with them in the future. It’s was really good to have the opportunity to hear about their concerns and talk to them about some of the work the police have been doing.”

The Rural Crime Team can be contacted by email -
opsentinel.rural@Bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk. There is also a WhatsApp group that is open for members of the rural community to join, for more information the team can be contacted on this same email address.

 

The meeting was chaired by the NFU’s regional lead, Gary Spiers, who said: “We would like to thank the Police and Crime Commissioner and Bedfordshire Police for their input at our rural crime meeting.

 

“Our PCC, Kathryn Holloway delivered, in her now familiar forthright fashion, her views on where more focus and resource is required amid a backdrop of increasing gang, gun and knife crime.

 

“Regarded as a rural force, Bedfordshire Police have a vast workload with a population approaching 700,000 and call centre dealing with a 15 percent increase in calls. The ongoing rural problems of fly tipping, hare coursing and theft predominated questions to Chief Super Intendant Boyle and Inspector Callow, with those perpetrators often being connected to more serious criminality.

 

“Overall this proved to be a very worthwhile meeting with a good level of input from the floor and a number of solutions being suggested as well as evidence of positive results being achieved by the Bedfordshire Police Rural Crime Team.”

 
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PCC meets with Sandy residents and councillors to discuss local policing issues
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, held her fifth public surgery in the county for the residents of Sandy to raise local policing issues with the Commissioner and senior officer Inspector Nick Masters from the Force.

The surgery, which was held last week (Monday 29 October) at the Town Council in Sandy, was attended by members of the public wishing to raise concerns about speeding, road safety, anti-social behaviour, criminal damage, theft from vehicles, burglaries and drugs. Ahead of the meeting, the Commissioner went out with a 999 Response officer, responding to emergencies in the area.

“Before I held the surgery with residents and met the council, as with all my visits to towns throughout the county, I went on ride-along again with one of our Response officers for the area. I was able to confirm to all I met that, while law abiding residents will not see members of our thinly stretched blue line regularly, this officer was typical in that he knew not only the addresses and surnames relating to every call made to him while I was out with him but even the names of all members of the household and even which of them holds a driving licence! Not only the Community Hub team serving Sandy and surrounding areas, which operates out of Biggleswade Police Station, but also the Response officers attending 999 calls and 101 appointments are very well informed about those on their patch who present issues in relation to crime and do all possible to contain the threat and protect the public.

“I also wanted to offer the residents of Sandy the chance to talk one to one about their policing and crime concerns as well as giving them the chance to pass on information to the senior Community Hub officer for their area. Interestingly, most residents wanted clarification of the strategic position in terms of the funding of Bedfordshire Police and the genuine limits this creates for me as PCC in setting the budget and recruiting extra officers. Some wanted to talk about issues such as lorries mounting pavements and speed reduction measures and I asked them to gather the evidence and let me set it before the Community Safety Partnership, chaired by the local authority but involving police, to see whether this could be addressed using our joint powers,” said the Commissioner.

Inspector Nick Masters, from Bedfordshire Police, said: “The Commissioner’s surgery provided a great opportunity for the public to raise any concerns around local policing and crime in their area. Understandably, we may not be able to respond immediately to every issue, but local people are our eyes and ears on the ground and by making sure crime of all levels is reported to police through the correct channels, we are able to build an intelligence picture which will could lead to action.”

Following the surgery, Commissioner Holloway was joined by members of the Town Council to discuss local policing for the area. The meeting, chaired by Mayor Michael Scott, allowed the nine councillors who attended to ask the Commissioner about local concerns, but also county-wide issues such as funding and county lines. Councillors also sought guidance from the Commissioner and Insp. Masters on crime prevention for the area and the importance of CCTV in the town.

“Sandy Town Council has a really sophisticated understanding of the constraints on Bedfordshire Police in terms of officer numbers and the need to judge each and every call coming into the Force Control Room against the severity and risk of matters happening at that very same second which might be life-threatening. Councillors were not only keen to hear what I have been doing to take the arguments very robustly to Government - including an emergency funding bid to deal with gang, gun and knife crime costs - for £4.571m which I will hear the result of this month (November), but to ask what they can do to support the Force and I over the wider issue of Government funding; as a result, they have agreed to petition the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, by writing to him before the next Policing Settlement this December as I believe the argument has been won with the Home Office but it is not a protected department for spending.

To mark the end of her second year in the role, Commissioner Holloway has been holding a serious of surgeries with the public around the county, with meetings having already taken place in Luton, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford and Sandy. The next public surgery is due to take place in Biggleswade on Tuesday 13 November. For a full breakdown of public meetings and information on how to book a session with the PCC, please visit the website - www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/upcoming-engagements
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