Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
01234 842064
OPCC fund to purchase specialist telephones for the community to crack down on scammers.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has teamed up with Age UK by funding the purchase of specialist telephones which prevent scam callers from connecting to potentially vulnerable individuals and in turn, preventing fraudsters from deceiving older people out of money via telephone scams.
 
The OPCC has provided Age UK with £20,000 to purchase the specialist devices which have an inbuilt scam calling blocker. These devices prevent known incoming scam numbers from being able to connect to the client’s home telephone number.
 
Karen Perry, Chief Executive Officer for Age UK Bedfordshire, said “These devices look exactly the same as a normal telephone and just simply plug into the telephone socket in the home in the usual way.
 
“They will protect older people from receiving calls from those who would seek to appear to be a bank or credit card company or other company that an older person may believe is a dedicated caller. In turn, this will help to prevent the older person from being duped into paying money over the telephone, or giving important personal details to the scam caller who will then use that information to steal money or another criminal act.”
 
Age UK teamed with Safer Streets and the Bobby Scheme through the OPCC, who will be distributing and fitting 500 phones to elderly residents across Bedfordshire.
 
Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Clare Kelly, said “When I pitched this idea to Age UK I was so pleased they were open to working with us as they have exactly the right skill set and knowledge to ensure the correct item was purchased and delivered in a suitable and safe way for our elderly residents. This year has shown us both the best and worst in humanity, where there is strength and hope in volunteers supporting charities with the Covid-19 response, we sadly also see the direct opposite approach of opportunist criminals who have used this situation to target our vulnerable loved ones. I am proud that my office has been able to make this idea a reality and hope this work goes towards preventing our elders from becoming victims of this highly impactive crime.”
 
Safer Streets lead on behalf of the OPCC, Antonina Belcheva, said “Safer Streets are pleased to be able to support this initiative by ensuring that those most at risk from fraud are being supported. Prevention of crime is key and we hope to continue to support and distribute the phone blockers.”
 
Eligibility for this project is simple – any older person who is deemed vulnerable or has been a victim of a scam of any description can receive one of the scam blocking telephones.
 
Referral to Age UK Bedfordshire can be made by telephoning 01234 360510 or emailing
enquiries@ageukbedfordshire.org.uk and asking about the Scam Blocking Telephones.
 
Phone scams are a common way for criminals to con people out of money. Be aware of some of the most common phone scams. See the Age UK website to find out what you can do to stay safe:
https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/scams-fraud/phone-scams/ 
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The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner gets ready for a new PCC
The Police and Crime Commissioner's role is certainly an extensive one, they are supported by a small team whose role is to ensure the delivery of the statutory duties of a Commissioner, their office and to ensure the views of the local community are heard and responded to.
 
Your Bedfordshire team are one of the smallest OPCCs in the Country in terms of size yet has achieved considerable wins for Bedfordshire. They have delivered over £16 million pounds worth of services to the people of Bedfordshire over the past five years. The team focuses on five key areas, these are; representing the voice of the public, working with partners to ensure services for victims, offender management strategy and the commissioning and delivery of early intervention programmes. They also work with Bedfordshire Police to ensure they are delivering an effective and transparent service.
 
The office has in recent years added to its responsibilities by bringing victim services in house through the creation and then management of Signpost, the service that supports people who have experienced crime. They have also taken on the lead for the charity that supports elderly and vulnerable community members with crime prevention; The Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust.
 
Collectively these functions make up the Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). As the team gets ready to welcome a new PCC after the 6 May vote is held, they are currently working with partners to ensure a smooth transition in all services that the community relies on. There are still core elements that the office is delivering that you can get involved directly in.
 
If you would like to become a member of the stop and search scrutiny panel, please email Community Cohesion:
community.cohesion@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.  This group of community representatives meets with the OPCC and Police to watch real videos of stop searches in Bedfordshire so that true transparency can take place, views and opinions are listened to and action taken wherever needed.
 
Signpost is commissioned and funded by the OPCC and offers free and confidential support to anyone affected by crime whether it has been reported to the police or not. Signpost was created to help and support victims of crime to cope and recover from their experience and ensure they receive their entitlements under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2015. For more information about Signpost, please visit the Signpost website:
https://www.signpostforbedfordshire.com/.
 
The OPCC has a statutory duty to maintain an Independent Custody Visiting Scheme for Bedfordshire.  Independent custody visiting is a well-established system whereby volunteers attend police stations to check on the treatment of detainees, the conditions in which they are held and that their rights and entitlements are being observed. The scheme offers protection and confidentiality to detainees and the police and provides reassurance to the wider community. If you would like more information about becoming an Independent Custody Visitor in Bedfordshire, or for general information regarding the Scheme, please contact:
PCC@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.
 
As part of the Communication work the office do, there are various Social Media Platforms to help keep the people of Bedfordshire up-to-date with what the office is doing and as a vehicle to listen to areas the community wish to raise to the office. These are accessible here:
 
Facebook –
@BedsOPCC
Twitter – @BedsOPCC
Instagram - @bedsopcc
 
The office also supplies a Newsletter at the start of every month which sums up what the office has been doing the month prior. If you would like to join the Newsletter Database, please email:
pccevents@beds.police.uk.
 
If you have been affected by crime, Signpost can be reached on the confidential freephone number 0800 0282 887. Signpost support services across a wide range of crimes and can also be accessed via their website (
www.signpostforbedfordshire.com) if individuals prefer to self-refer.
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Road Safety fund 2021/22 - is now open

Road safety is an integral part of community safety which is in turn a matter of significant importance to the people who live in, work in and visit Bedfordshire. Which is why a fund of money will be available for community groups and relevant partners to bid into in order to try and reduce the number of people harmed on our roads.

 

The partners that make up the Bedfordshire Road Safety Partnership are all committed to improving road safety and to this opportunity. Road casualties devastate families and communities. Collisions also cost the national economy an estimated £16.3 billion a year and add pressure on the NHS and emergency services.

 

Due to Covid-19, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner appreciates that many people quite correctly have been shielding and so is welcoming initiatives which effectively respond to the pandemic, specifically through helping people to regain their confidence or skills with driving and getting back out on the road systems.

Chief Executive for the OPCC, Clare Kelly, said “Bedfordshire has seen significant reductions in serious collisions over recent years; however we are aware that the trend is now showing signs of increase in serious collisions both in Bedfordshire and also nationally – so we cannot afford to be complacent. There is a strong collective will for us to work together; responding to accident trends, with well thought out and evidence based activity using the diverse skills each partner brings in order to achieve real changes and improvements for the people of Bedfordshire.”

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) is now encouraging applications from projects and organisations which aim to make the county's roads safer and help with any of the following objectives set:

 

·       To reduce the number of young drivers, passengers, riders and pedestrians killed or seriously injured in Bedfordshire

·       To reduce the social impact of road casualties, at an individual, family and community level

·       To reduce the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on Bedfordshire’s roads whilst increasing the levels of cycling and cycle stages undertaken.

·       To reduce the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured on Bedfordshire’s roads.

·       To reduce the number of motorcyclists killed and seriously injured on Bedfordshire’s roads.

·       To reduce the number of older people (aged 60 or over) killed or seriously injured on Bedfordshire’s roads.

·       To help build up the confidence of those drivers who have been prevented from driving during the pandemic.

 

Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns for Brake (the road safety charity), said “Safe and healthy mobility is everyone’s human right and so improving the safety of our roads and the care for crash victims is vitally important.”

 

Mark Turner, Chief Executive of the Road Victims Trust, said “The traumatic effect of fatal and life-changing road collisions devastates the lives of so many. Those left bereaved will have their lives changed forever.  The Road Victims Trust are proud to work in partnership with the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner and Bedfordshire Police to provide the very best levels of care to those whose lives are at their lowest possible ebb. This has been made possible by genuine teamwork, innovation and understanding that has served the communities of Bedfordshire so well, this fund will only go further to strengthen that work, which we welcome”.

 

How to bid into this fund is available here: https://www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/general.php?id=331

 

 

Timeline

April 5th - 09:00

Bids Open

May 6th – 17:00

Bids Close

w/c June 15th

Notifications to bidders will go out

 

 

For anyone affected by mentioned topics, please contact Signpost. Signpost can be reached on the confidential freephone number 0800 0282 887 and support services across a wide range of crimes can also be accessed via its website, www.signpostforbedfordshire.com if individuals prefer to self-refer. Alternatively, you can contact the Roads Victims Trust. If you require their support, please call 01234 843345 or email: enquiries@rvtrust.co.uk, or visit their website: https://www.rvtrust.org.uk/.

 

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OPCC praises partners and the delivery team for Safer Streets action in Luton and Bedford over the past 6 months
The Safer Streets fund won by the PCC and partners in 2020 is a multi-partnership project aiming to tackle anti-social behaviour and associated criminality for the High Town area in Luton and the Midland Road area in Bedford.  Local police officers and partners have dedicated their time to being visible and easily accessible for the community during this project.  Safer Streets isn’t just about tackling criminal issues, but is also about getting the residents of this area to take back their community and be proud of the work they have done in creating a better place to live.
 
The Safer Streets team included representatives from Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Police, Luton Borough Council, Neighbourhood Watch, SmartWater and others.
 
In 2021, several engagement days were held in both Luton and Bedford, where residents saw the Safer Streets team give advice and information through door knocks and on the advertisement van that moved through the areas. Engagement with residents were completed in both areas to greater understand the needs of the community.
 
In Bedford as part of these visits, over 350 residents have received crime prevention tools:
 
  • 22 Streets visited
  • 12 agencies working together
  • 338 completed Surveys
  • 246 Smart Water kits registered at the door
  • 90 Care and Repair assessments completed
  • 23 Fire Service ‘Safe and Well’ Referrals
  • 17 Signpost ‘Victims Hub’ referrals
  • 109 requests for Ring Doorbells
 
In Luton, as part of the home visits…
 
  • 8 streets have been visited
  • 15 agencies working together
  • Over 70 surveys have been completed
  • 30 referrals to Neighbourhood Watch
  • 23 Bobby Scheme referrals
  • 25 expression of interest to the Safer Community Training from LASE
  • 40 Ring Door Bells
  • 29 residents signed up to Beds Alert
 
Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Clare Kelly said “The success of Safer Streets is testament to the way the partners worked together for the good of the communities. In our own office Project Manager Antonina Belcheva who speaks many languages spoken by the local community has been a strong lead for this work and has ensured the full delivery of the porjects, which have been on time and on budget.”
 
Project Manager for Safer Streets, Antonina Belcheva, said “Residents from both areas have now seen some new gating, improvement in lighting and soon the new CCTV cameras will be placed. I would like to thank my colleagues Tara Lynch from Luton Borough Council, Inspector Cray Birch from Bedfordshire Police, Chief Inspector Mohammed Aziz and Sarah Stevens from Bedford Community Safety team in supporting the initiatives during this challenging time Partners who have been out working with the Police and Local Authority on these engagement days have found the days productive for both residents and their own organisations.”
 
Azalea run a Safer Communities Course where individuals can talk together as a community about how they can assist in stopping sex trafficking and other forms of exploitation in Luton. The course can be signed up to through this link
www.azalea.org.uk/lase. Ruth Robb, Co-Founder and CEO of Azalea, said “It has been so inspiring to hear stories from local people about how passionate they are to tackle these issues in a compassionate way.”
 
Jenny Bull, Domestic Abuse Coordinator from Luton Borough Council, stated that “It was a great opportunity to reach out to residents directly, answer any concerns they might have and provide them with information that could not only prevent a crime, with all the anxiety that might cause, but that could potentially save a life (for someone affected by domestic abuse) too. I was really impressed by the enthusiasm of the Safer Streets teams and the interest shown by all those that answered their doors on what was (weather wise) a pretty wet and miserable day.”
 
Sergeant Sarah Hudson from Luton Central Community Policing Team said “Despite the cold weather on the day, it was great to see so many partners supporting the safer streets project.  By working together in partnership, we were able to engage with the local community, listen to their concerns and complete a number of community surveys.  The safer streets project is another tool helping us to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour within High Town which we hope will ultimately improve the quality of life of the local residents.”
 
“The Safer street project is great way of further improving the safety of residents within High Town area.  We are thankful to have been invited to be part of it, I had a chance to complete door knocks teaming up with 2 very supportive community officers. It was a very productive but wet day, but we are looking forward supporting the Safer Street Team in their next visit to residents. Thank you for providing us with this opportunity” said Borislava Zarkova from Change Ur Life who support individuals experiencing Domestic Abuse.
 
Clare Kelly, Chief Executive for the OPCC for Bedfordshire, said “I’m so grateful to local residents who have already registered to give their time to the community and extend that thanks to our partners who have worked so hard to provide practical events for the people of Bedfordshire.”
 
If any of the residents would like further information on the project or would like to request SmartWater, Ring Bell or a visit from the Fire Service, please email:
Bedford -
saferstreets@bedford.gov.uk
Luton – SSFcoordinator@luton.gov.uk
or call 0777 666 0235
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OPCC share plans for change after listening to those who have experienced crime in Bedfordshire

Victims of crime and those affected by crimes impacts are a fundamental focus within policing and for the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). Every OPCC must be a champion for victims as per their statutory obligations.
 

In order to further fulfil this commitment a Victim Needs Analysis (VNA) was created to help understand the needs and issues for individuals and communities across Bedfordshire. It has been five years since the last VNA was published in 2016. Given the duty to commission victim services that provide victims with the best support, it is absolutely vital that the OPCC has a well-rounded understanding of victims’ needs and the issues that they face locally in comparison to the national context, and any key changes since the last VNA was released. This 2021 Bedfordshire OPCC Victims’ Needs Analysis (VNA) set out to achieve just that.
 

Primary goals of this Victims’ Needs Analysis

To provide:

•            an intelligence lead and evidence-based guide to further aid the commissioning of future victim services

•            a strategic overview of national policy and the implications for local areas.

•            review of national and local data to understand key themes and trends relating to crime and victims and the demand on services.

•            a strategic overview of local Community Safety Partnership and Police priorities.

•            an overview of current service provision, identifying good practice and identify gaps.

•            a strong understanding of victims needs for the newly elected PCC later this year

 

A literature review of key national policy was carried out including existing, new, updated and coming into effect in future. Quantitative and qualitative data was assessed and where appropriate compared against national or similar force data. This included recorded crime statistics, victim surveys and victim police complaints information. Victim engagement was paramount in completing the bespoke survey which collected 296 responses to questions relating to key areas of research for the VNA. Key partner contribution was also sought from Bedfordshire Police, The Ministry of Justice and the charitable sector.

 

In February 2021, the Victim’s Minister, Dame Vera Baird QC released her report to Government to call for a new Victim Law and stated that the falling confidence in the criminal justice system could only be restored by treating victims as participants rather than outsiders in events that could have been pivotal moments in their lives. The VNA stands with that statement and has an ambition to be part of the solution so that the people of Bedfordshire can receive the service they both expect and deserve.

 

The VNA is focused on partners moving together to further improve the OPCC approaches and services. 

 

This Victims’ Needs Analysis has designed a series of 28 recommendations in response to areas of change required, covering areas such as; process changes, cultural reviews and approach of commissioned services across partnerships. The recommendations have been designed to be delivered, monitored and completed so that the contributors to this work can be assured of action.

 

Lila Begum, Independent Advisory Group member and Chief Constable Advisory Panel member for Bedfordshire Police, said “It’s important that the VNA reflected the need, changes and identified the gaps in services in Bedfordshire. This will help shape the support network and pathway for both victims and professionals. Being part of the VNA was important for me as I wanted to ensure my voice was heard and those who I have supported. We must continue to engage and reach out to victims, survivors and the community, to get these services where we know they need to be.”

 

Chief Executive to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner said “We are incredibly grateful to the individuals who have been affected by crime who gave us their time and valuable insight so that we can make changes that will improve the journey that others will go on. The only way we can achieve these changes is if partners come together and focus strategy and action on addressing the needs of those affected by crime in Bedfordshire. 

 

It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact upon the world of victim care and the OPCC acknowledges that impact and understands changes that have had to be made to cope during and after the pandemic, however there is never a time to stop working on this area until we get it right for all the people we serve.”

 

To read the Full Victim Needs Analysis (VNA) click here.

To read the Precise Victim Needs Analysis (VNA) click here.

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PCC launches fifth and final year report as she wins £2.1m more for Bedfordshire Police and submits a further £1.8m in Safer Streets bids to the Home Office
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has produced a report to mark the end of her five year term as a further £2.1m Special Grant has been won to help her force fight Organised Crime Groups and £1.8m more is being requested from the Home Office in Safer Street bids countywide.
 
The new £2.1m Special Grant comes on top of those Commissioner Holloway has won over the past three years of £4.571m, £3m and £2.9m for her cash-strapped force after persuading the Home Office to change its rules on Special Grants especially for Bedfordshire Police. Such grants used to apply only to events taking place on a single day like a terror attack but the PCC convinced successive Policing Ministers that the cost of fighting serious violence in Bedfordshire over a four year period are unprecedented for a force funded at its level.
 
The PCC had expected to stand down voluntarily at the end of her allotted four year term as the elected PCC for Bedfordshire but, due to the pandemic, the Government postponed the election for a full year until May 2021. Therefore, PCC remained in post for an unexpected fifth year.
 
“I could not in all conscience desert my team, the public, Bedfordshire Police and victims of crime at a time of national emergency but although you can’t please everyone in every community with the policing we can afford I’m more proud of what has been achieved here than of anything I have done previously in my 38 year career.
 
“I’ve done as I promised and fought absolutely tooth and claw for Bedfordshire to bring in more extra funding to the force than for more than 20 years and higher recruitment than for more than a decade - increasing officer numbers every single year as I’d promised before becoming Commissioner,” said PCC Holloway.
 
The PCC has delivered upon her pledge, every year, to increase police numbers including planning for the recruitment of 153 new Police Constables in the coming year. This recruitment boost supported the return of Community Policing to Bedfordshire, at the highest level which is affordable, after it was almost stripped out as a cost cutting measure prior to the PCC’s arrival and the creation of specialist units to deliver more equitable policing for local communities, including what has become the largest rural crime unit of all seven forces in the East of England.
 
In addition, the PCC has secured exceptional levels of funding for community safety improvements, including over £900,000 this year for the Safer Streets projects in Bedford and Luton which introduce crime prevention measures and specialist CCTV which follows suspects in the Midland Road area of Bedford and High Town area of Luton and over £2 million in 2020-21 to support charities working with victims, especially to provide safe shelter and assistance to those fleeing Domestic Abuse due to the extraordinary demands brought about by the pandemic.
 
“Where victims of Domestic Violence are concerned, my team worked absolutely tirelessly to secure both hotel accommodation and rental homes to provide emergency shelter during the pandemic, even given the significant difficulties created by the closure of most of the hospitality and rental sectors for much of the year and I’m so proud of them.” said PCC Holloway
 
“In terms of victim care, we kept the Signpost support service open throughout the pandemic. I introduced Signpost in April 2018 to contact victims of crime in Bedfordshire within 24 hours of a crime being recorded and also to connect those impacted by crime - parents, children and partners - with those with the expertise to help them locally. This year I'm absolutely delighted to report that the specialists of Signpost have worked with a highly impressive 4,000+ victims whom they continued to triage on to the range of support services they needed, despite the challenges of Covid.”
 
In February 2020, the PCC opened a new Sexual Assaults Referral Centre (SARC) in Bedfordshire, for those who have been subject to rape, assault and sexual abuse. It is now set in a discreet, serene and comfortable setting, in contrast to the hospital environment in which it was previously housed.
 
“This is one of my proudest achievements as PCC - creating a far better setting to help victims of some of these most serious and invasive crimes start their recovery. I was particularly delighted when the regional NHS leader, responsible for SARCs across the Eastern region, declared it the ‘new gold standard’” said the PCC.
 
Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth, said “In what has been an unprecedented year in so many ways I would pay tribute and offer my personal thanks to our PCC following her unexpected fifth and final year in office. As is evident from the report, which like all of the previous publications demonstrates a substantial range of achievements that make a difference to so many in our communities, an enduring legacy will undoubtedly be the additional funding that the PCC has managed to secure for policing across Bedfordshire. The money secured has of course been pivotal in our ability to increase police officer numbers and embed community policing in every Neighbourhood across the county, as well as tackle the scourge of organised and serious criminality that blights too many of our communities. The SARC is a vital addition to the quality of the services we provide to some of our most vulnerable victims.”
 
This year, the PCC also completed one of what she has described as one of the most important projects of her entire term. The PCC made a commitment in her Police and Crime Plan back in May 2016, to reach out to the county’s Black communities. Following the death of George Floyd in America and the emphasis this placed on the relationship between Black residents and policing, the PCC dedicated 100 hours to compile a report of the same name, hearing in person from as many of Bedfordshire's Black residents as possible between July 2020 and January 2021, from teenagers to those in their eighties.
 
PCC Holloway said “Policing has travelled a vast distance in terms of attitudes, behaviour and a genuine focus on increasing diversity in recent decades from the 1950s to date but memories are long and forgiveness for inappropriate behaviour in the past is difficult to achieve.
 
“The same is true of building a new level of confidence and mutual trust between our Black and Mixed Race residents and those who police their communities, especially if police recruits’ own experiences of such communities is limited. This is the reason that I committed, as a key priority of my term - and time - during 2020-21, to devoting 100 Hours to produce this report.”
 
The PCC wanted to hear directly, in person, from as wide a sample of Bedfordshire’s Black residents as possible to learn their own suggestions of ways in which they could move their relationship forward with policing in Bedfordshire and across the police service in England and Wales.
 
The recommendations which resulted are intended to bring about positive changes at Bedfordshire Police - a force in which the PCC and her two Chief Constables have built record diversity levels and where both have the ambition that this report will help to create positive change across the wider police service and stronger relationships of confidence and trust in all the communities that police serve, without exception.
 
“This report is now going to both the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire and the Chair of the National Police Chiefs Council to learn the many recommendations from our residents including a need to build relationships with children in schools at a far earlier age and a key change to national practise in which probationer officers are required to complete five stop and search procedures in their first two years to try remove this mandatory quota to give communities confidence that every one is necessary,” said PCC Holloway.
 
“I’d like to thank every single one of those who helped me with this project for giving me their time so generously and for making absolutely practical and useful recommendations on behalf of their communities to build more confidence in policing here and more widely,” she said.
 
The OPCC has submitted bids of £400,000 each for Tavistock Street in Bedford and £200,000 in Luton, plus one for £425,000 for the Dunstable/Houghton Regis border to introduce similar Safer Streets projects to those running so successfully in Midland Road and High Town.
 
“I’m going to fight for funds for Bedfordshire to help the force keep residents safe until the last minute I walk out the door but from this week on I’m going to have to be uncharacteristically silent as the election rules mean the end of public engagement like this. It’s been a pleasure to serve this county,” said the PCC.
 
Signpost can be reached on the confidential freephone number 0800 0282 887 and support services across a wide range of crimes can also be accessed via its website,
www.signpostforbedfordshire.com if individuals prefer to self-refer.
 
Similar arrangements are available through Direction, the service the PCC established to transform and connect services available to ex-offenders to help them pursue lives away from crime. Direction can be contacted on 0800 9175 579 and its one to one support services can also be reached independently through its website,
www.directionforbedfordshire.co.uk.

To read the PCC's Fifth Year Annual Report, click here.
To read the PCC's '100 hours to enhance confidence and trust in Bedfordshire Police' Report, click here. 

 
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Virtual Community Event for ‘Safer Streets’
The Safer Streets project in the Midland Road area has seen a major upgrade to the CCTV system, home safety equipment and advice offered to residents, and home visits carried out by Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue and other local organisations, as part of this Home Office funded project.
 
Now, residents and businesses across the Midland Road area are being invited to a virtual community event to find out more about the project, how they can get involved and meet the agencies and partners involved.
 
It will take place on Thursday 18 March, from 2pm to 4pm. There will be representatives from SmartWater, Neighbourhood Watch, Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Police and others. 
 
So far as part of the Safer Streets project, over the last 3 months teams from 11 different local agencies have completed home visits with nearly 300 households. As part of those visits, over 200 residents have received free SmartWater kits to help protect their property from burglary, and the teams have completed home security assessments for 90 homes.
 
A number of new streets have been added to the Safer Streets area in the final weeks of the project. Residents living in Sovereigns Quay, The Avenue, Herons Quay, Ashburnham Road, Woburn Road, Poulter Close and Conduit Road can apply for a free SmartWater kit by emailing
saferstreets@bedford.gov.uk
 
Cllr Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said “The Safer Streets project is a wide-ranging initiative which has brought many benefits to the local community, from improving the CCTV system around Midland Road, installing home security, to meeting and engaging with residents, businesses and the local community.
 
“This virtual event is a good opportunity to meet with the agencies and organisations working in your area, find out what’s going on, and most importantly to have your voice heard. I know how much local people and businesses care about their neighbourhood and we also look to work with the local community and help address issues that people care about. Please come join us on the 18 March.”
 
Clare Kelly, Chief Executive for the OPCC for Bedfordshire, said “I’m so grateful to local residents who have already registered to give their time to the community and extend that thanks to our partners who have worked so hard to provide a practical event for the people of Bedfordshire.”
 
To register for the event email
saferstreets@bedford.gov.uk or call 0777 666 0235.
 
The Safer Streets Community Hub has been established in the area where agencies can be based to work with the community offering support where needed, which will be funded for a further 6 months by the OPCC.
 
For more information about the Safer Streets project, visit
www.bedford.gov.uk/saferstreets
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Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner supports NO MORE WEEK as new laws are added to support those affected by domestic abuse

This week sees the eighth annual NO MORE Week. NO MORE Week is an annual, international opportunity to come together to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence, inspiring individuals, organisations, and communities to make change.

 

NO MORE Week runs from 7th - 13th March 2021, coinciding with International Women’s Day which was on 8th March 2021. It also falls in the same week new laws have been added to the Domestic Abuse Bill to help protect victims. Of particular prevalence to this amendment has been:

  • New offence of non-fatal strangulation to be introduced as part of ground-breaking legislation
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour offence extended to include abuse where perpetrators and victims no longer live together
  • ‘Revenge porn’ offence widened to cover threats to share intimate images

 

Chief Executive, Clare Kelly, said “From the OPCC’s £2m budget set for 2021/22, £891k was for services specific to supporting women. This funding supports individuals and families that have experienced Domestic Abuse and those who have experienced sexual trauma. I would much rather live in a world where these crimes did not occur and therefore we would not need to spend on providing these services, however our data and our interactions with our service users tells us the need is still here and we must continue to provide accordingly.”

 

“People say to me; why do we need an International Womens Day? I respond by showing them our crime statistics, I will take them through what the reality of the world we are living in today is and explain it is down to leaders, commissioners of services and our wider society to stand up and say ‘this is still not right, we must do more, we must work together to make things better’.”

 

NO MORE Week is for all people who have experienced domestic abuse or sexual trauma and the OPCC has recently supported bespoke workstreams to support men in this area, but the crime type is still disproportionality committed against women and girls.

 

This week is a time for everyone; individuals, non-profit and corporate organisations, communities and groups across the UK to unite and keep the conversation going around domestic abuse and sexual violence.

 

“Silence and lack of knowledge can play a large part in why perpetrators continue to offend. Simply wanting to help and learn more is a huge step toward ending this abhorrent crime” added Simon Powell Head of Victim Care at the OPCC’s Signpost service for victims in Bedfordshire.

 

Knowing what to say to someone who may be experiencing these crime types can be overwhelming. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t need to be an expert — you need to be available to listen.

 

·       Listen without judgement

·       Let them know that you believe them

·       Ask what more you can do to help

·       Support their decisions

·       Take care of yourself too. Make sure you seek support and help if you are feeling overwhelmed.

 

 

Signpost, the service for Bedfordshire for those that have experienced crime are also available for concerned colleagues, friends and family who do not know what to do when this situation arises.

 

If you would like to learn more follow the hashtag #WhatICanDo on social media to see how everyone can play a significant role in preventing these crimes and to also find out how you can promote equality and respect in your communities, schools, universities and workplaces. This message goes directly towards speaking to perpetrators and to go towards preventing people from becoming perpetrators.

 

 

Additional information:

 

On 1st March 2021, new laws were added to the Domestic Abuse Bill to help protect victims. For more information, please click here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-laws-to-protect-victims-added-to-domestic-abuse-bill

 

For more information on NO MORE Week 2021, click here: https://uksaysnomore.org/no-more-week-2021/

 

If you have been affected by Domestic Abuse or Sexual Assault, Signpost offers free and confidential support to victims of any crime or those affected by a crime in Bedfordshire, whether or not it has been reported to police and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred. Signpost's Victim Care Coordinators can be contacted on freephone 0800 0282 887 or by visiting www.signpostforbedfordshire.com for further information. In an emergency, a victim of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault should always call 999 for assistance. To report DV or SA, call police on 101, or visit a participating pharmacy and ask for “ANI” which is a codeword now recognised as a cry for help by trained pharmacist staff.

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PCC wins more than 2 million to fund Bedfordshire Polices biggest ever crackdown on organised crime gangs.

Bedfordshire’s PCC, Kathryn Holloway, has succeeded in her latest bid to gain bespoke funding from the Home Office - winning over £2m in her latest Special Grant for police to target the criminal masterminds behind Organised Crime Groups across the county.

 

The funding will allow Bedfordshire Police to focus on Organised Crime Groups after new leads emerged as a result of the National Crime Agency’s Operation Venetic, which managed to crack the encryption of the network EncroChat, used by such groups to manage their criminal trade in drugs, weapons and people.

 

This latest funding takes the total funds won by the Police and Crime Commissioner to £17.5m over the last three years after persuading the Home Office to change the criteria for Special Grants specifically to tackle violence, exploitation and organised crime in Bedfordshire. 

 

“Previous Special Grants have allowed me to help Bedfordshire Police to target the foot soldiers involved in gang, gun and knife crime at street level, though Bedfordshire’s specialist team known as Op Boson and to double the size of that team so that it has units for both the north and south of the county.

 

“Now we’re going after the Mr Bigs who are running these operations higher up, with the help of the information provided by the National Crime Agency.

This £2.1m is invaluable as we are aware of multiple crime groups where intelligence concerning each one can ferociously absorb Bedfordshire’s very limited police resources. For example, the early intelligence concerning each group is so vast that the initial investigative process to get to the stage of warrants, raids and arrests can take between eight to 12 weeks on a full-time basis which is the equivalent of between 640 and 960 hours for each crime analyst and Field Intelligence Officer.

 

“The Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, asked when he visited me and the Chief Constable last August why we couldn’t have one major crackdown on Organised Crime and he’s put his money where his mouth is and provided the funds to let us get on with the job and we’re very grateful indeed. We want to make Bedfordshire a deeply hostile environment in which to run a crime network,” said PCC Holloway. 

 

The Policing Minister has written to the PCC to confirm that he will give the force a £2.1m Special Grant to cover 85 per cent of the costs of running Bedfordshire’s Serious Organised Crime crackdown this year.

 

Operation Costello is the name of Bedfordshire Police’s response to its most serious criminal gangs following the National Crime Agency intelligence which is giving its detectives unprecedented insight into the highest levels of organised crime operating in Luton.

 

Multiple criminal networks have been discovered and major operations launched as part of Operation Costello, with officers making dozens of arrests and seizing large quantities of drugs and firearms. 

 

Between July and February. Bedfordshire Police carried out 83 warrants under Operation Costello, resulting in 44 arrests, 15 people being charged and the seizure of firearms and other weapons, approximately six kilos of Class A and B drugs, as well as around £580,000 in cash,

 

More than £1 million in assets have been seized in total under the operation, including cash, jewellery and property.


“Bedfordshire Police has been extraordinarily successful in 2020 in following the new intelligence where crime bosses have made sophisticated efforts to avoid detection including laundering cash through rental properties and relatives but we know where they are and we’re coming after them,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

“As I reach the end of my term and step down as PCC in early May, I’m incredibly proud of bringing more cash to fight serious crime to Bedfordshire and that I’ve won another battle to win a fourth Special Grant for this incredibly hard-working and deserving force. It is more than Bedfordshire Police has won for more than 20 years previously and it’s what I came here for,” she said.

 

Special Grants are typically only awarded in extraordinary circumstances outside ‘business as usual in policing’ to cover the costs to local forces of major events occurring on a single day, such as terrorist attacks.

 

Commissioner Holloway’s lobbying efforts persuaded the Home Office that her rural force has faced unprecedented demand outside the usual business of a rural force on low funding and she has secured unparalleled investment into local policing and partners. As a direct result, the force’s Boson guns and gangs team has been backed with Special Grants worth £4.571m, £3m and £2.9m respectively over the past three years, due to the scale of the challenge in Bedfordshire as well as the latest £2.1m grant.

 

Additional Home Office ‘surge funding’ money of £1.38m last year and £908,000 this year has been used to run enforcement activity to tackle Serious Youth Violence, while annual grants of £880,000 have been awarded to the PCC to fund Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit for the past two years and again for at least a further 12 months.

 

When the PCC and Bedfordshire Police hosted Mr Malthouse last year, they gave him presentations on the work of Boson as well as Operation Costello, with two Special Grants having been awarded to the force since this visit.

 

The PCC has also bid for similar government funding to run Operation Costello for the next two years, beyond her term, as the force looks to mount its largest ever assault on organised crime.

 

The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit has also run a number of major operations targeting organised crime in Bedfordshire and across the region as part of Operation Venetic. The regional unit’s work in Luton has resulted in the seizure of 90 kilos of Class A drugs, seven firearms, around £40,000 in cash, as well as jewellery worth in the region of £250,000.

 

The diversionary work and police enforcement collectively have meant a nine per cent reduction in Serious Youth Violence in Bedfordshire between March 2019 and March 2020, which equates to around 200 fewer victims who are alive or living without life-changing injuries.

 

In addition, there were no reports of firearms discharges or incidents of serious violence directly attributed to Bedfordshire’s Organised Crime Groups or gangs between August and January.

 

“This is an extraordinary achievement for Det Supt Julie Henderson and her team and to bring home the truth of this, when I came to Bedfordshire as PCC in May 2016, we were fifth among all 43 forces in England and Wales for gun crime,” said PCC Holloway.

 

Detective Superintendent Julie Henderson, who is leading Operation Costello, said: “The intelligence and investigative work under this operation has given us a once in a generation opportunity to dismantle the organised criminal gangs blighting lives and communities in Luton.

 

“These gangs prey on and exploit children and vulnerable people to make their money, plain and simple. You can help us shine a light on this exploitation. If you think someone has money, property or expensive possessions beyond what they could realistically pay for, this could be a sign they are involved in organised crime. Have no doubt – you will be making your community safer if you report these concerns, to either ourselves or Crimestoppers.”

 

Anyone with any information about drug dealing and organised crime can report it via Bedfordshire.police.uk/report

 

Alternatively the public can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or by visiting their website. All of these totally anonymous reports which cannot be traced back to the source are fed into police intelligence systems and can help police build up a better picture of organised crime, even if officers are not able to proceed to an arrest straight away.

 

For more information visit this landing page on the Crimestoppers website.

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Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust launch new branding for a new focus
The Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust (BPPT) was launched as a Registered Charity on 16th September 1997 with help from a grant from the national lottery, with the key aim to engage with partners from the business community in Bedfordshire, to enhance Community Safety across the county.
 
With a legacy of over 20 years operation, this vision has proved to be vital for so many. In its early years, the BPPT operated a Driver Awareness Program and a Grant Program. However, in 1999, the flagship of the Trust was launched, in the form of the Bobby Van Scheme. The Bobby Scheme and Grant Programme are still at the heart of the Charity’s work today.
 
Just prior to the pandemic, Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust moved under the management of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and, with this, has become an essential part of the victim care that the OPCC provide for the people of Bedfordshire. Early wins such as the charity being awarded over £14,000 by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to help support individuals fleeing Domestic Abuse have proven that the link with the OPCC is working. Chief Executive of both the OPCC and charity asked the trustees to consider a rebranding of the charity to now match this addition of caring for the needs of the individual as well as the physical needs that a homeowner may require.
 
The new Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust logo was designed by Jade Ronayne from the Police and Crime Commissioners Victim Service Centre, Signpost. The new logo still incorporates the ‘handshake’ from the original logo which represents the public and the charity working together.
 
The different shades of purples mirror other victim services across Bedfordshire as it is known as the colour of recovery.

 
 
Chief Executive Clare Kelly said “The trustees of our charity have been incredibly supportive and really understood this essential rebranding. It is important that organisations recognise when something no longer feels right to the community or time that we serve in. I hope as we move out of the pandemic our charity will be able to help and support even more people across Bedfordshire as I have seen first-hand what an impact this vital service can do for the people we care for”
 
The Grant Program
 
The BPPT Grant Program has recently agreed to fund Aspire Plus. Aspire Plus is a partnership between Transaction UK and the Academy of Central Bedfordshire. It offers a 2-year mentoring and befriending programme to help school leavers at risk of criminal exploitation or offending, leading to more positive futures for young people and safer communities for all.
 
The BPPT Grant Program has also agreed to fund Bedford Ouse Valley District Scouts by supplying a new uniform and neckerchiefs. The new group is being launched with support from the Muslim Scout Fellowship who are reaching out to the Muslim community to better increase the diversity of Scouting in the area.
 
 
The Bobby Scheme
 
The Bobby scheme provides security advice, conducts risk assessments and fits and secures security items to properties as well as providing care, support and advice where needed. These services are provided to elderly victims of crime (over the age of 65), with the aim to help prevent them becoming victims of crime, victims of domestic abuse that have been reported to Bedfordshire Police as well as vulnerable members of the community.
 
 
Please note: Signpost offers free and confidential support to victims of any crime or those affected by a crime in Bedfordshire, whether or not it has been reported to police and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred. Signpost's Victim Care Coordinators can be contacted on freephone 0800 0282 887 or by visiting
www.signpostforbedfordshire.com for further information. In an emergency, you should always call 999 for assistance.


 
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PCC thanks residents and marks achievements so far in Safer Streets action in High Town


Bedfordshire’s PCC, Kathryn Holloway, has pointed to outstanding delivery of community safety improvement in Luton as a result of the Safer Street fund of £912,150 secured by her office from the Home Office, backed by Luton Borough Council.
 
The Safer Streets fund won by the PCC and partners in 2020 is a project aiming to tackle Anti-Social Behaviour and criminality in the High Town area. 
 
Local police officers and partners have dedicated their time to being more visible and easily accessible to the community during this project and meeting the suggestions of those living in the High Town area regarding improvements.  
 
"Safer Streets isn’t just about tackling criminal issues, but is also about getting the residents of this area to take back their community and be proud of the work they have done in creating a better place to live. Police and the council are a part of that but hearing from residents and spending on the issues that matter most to them in terms of feeling safer and preventing crime are what counts,” said Commissioner Holloway.
 
In January 2021, residents were surveyed to understand their priorities, both in person and online. The following actions arose directly out of residents’ responses: -
 
  • 25 families were referred to safer community training 
 
  • 23 households with vulnerable residents were referred for free home security assessments and installations by Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust's Bobby Scheme, helping secure their homes
 
  • 29 referrals were made for sign up to the Beds Alert police information service so residents can be kept up to date with the latest crime information
 
  • 26 applications were received to join Neighbourhood Watch
 
“It’s particularly rewarding for my team to see residents getting involved in keeping themselves and their neighbours safe and that’s particularly true of those joining the Neighbourhood Watch in the High Town area. People understand that police cannot do this on their own and that those living in a neighbourhood are the very best judges or what or who is out of place there,” said PCC Holloway.


There will be two more engagement days in Luton where residents will see the Safer Streets advice and information advertisement van moving through the area.
 
These will be held on
Saturday 6 March from noon until 2pm and Monday 15 March from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.
 
Chief Executive of Luton Borough Council, Robin Porter, commented, “I’m really pleased that the work carried out by partners, as part of the Safer Streets Fund project, is enabling local residents and businesses in High Town to have their say about what is important to them and what they are concerned about in their neighbourhood.
 
“Engaging with us by completing the online survey, means we can understand what they think about their local area and share what is happening where they live and work. Many have also got involved with the project schemes including Beds Alert Service, the community training and the Neighbourhood Watch scheme, which in other areas of the town has proven to have a positive impact.
 
“These schemes are such an important way to not only help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, but also support with enhancing the community engagement within the area and we hope residents and businesses will find the two upcoming events next month as helpful as the ones that took place in January”.


 
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PCC shares pathways to support victims during LGBTQ+ History Month

Bedfordshire’s PCC, Kathryn Holloway, is marking LGBTQ+ History Month by sharing opportunities for support within the county.

 

The PCC’s victim support service Signpost can offer those who have experienced crime - including hate crime as a result of their gender or sexuality - access to trained Victim Care Coordinators to help provide support from specialists working in the specific area of LGBTQ+ related crime, as Galop’s Hate Crime Report (2016) revealed that eight in 10 of their respondents had experienced anti LGBTQ+ hate crime and hate speech online in the last five years across the UK. 

 

“This is a truly offensive fact that shows how very far we have to travel before we offer equality in life and fair, non-abusive treatment to all LGBTQ+ residents in this and other counties.

 

“I want all communities within Bedfordshire, without exception, to have appropriate support and access to well trained individuals who are familiar with their needs when it matters most, especially if experiencing crime. I will not accept that members of our LGBTQ+ communities should be treated in any respect like second class citizens as it is a mark of any civilised and educated society that we eradicate the prejudice they still experience. This is a live and current issue as the Galop poll makes abundantly clear,” said Commissioner Holloway.

 

Gill Richardson, a Victim Care Coordinator for Signpost stated “We are here to support everyone who is a victim of crime in Bedfordshire. I am one of many trained staff at Signpost who offer practical advice and guidance. We are well linked to the issues that face victims of crime where the motive behind that crime has been linked to sexuality or gender identity. I want everyone experiencing that abuse to know we are here for them and we believe them”

 

In Bedfordshire, support for LGBTQ+ victims to report crimes and to provide them with practical and emotional support is available through Signpost, the victim service centre which is available on 0800 0282 887 or via the link https://www.signpostforbedfordshire.com/

 

Online hate crime may also be reported through Stonewall:

https://www.report-it.org.uk/files/online-crime-2020_0.pdf

 

Bedfordshire Police has a specialist Hate Crime Unit, and the link can be found here:

https://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/information-and-services/Crime/Hate-crime-and-hate-incidents/Hate-Crime#8611e406

 

Writer Maya Angelou is one of many individuals that the LGBTQ+ History campaign is celebrating to share their message this year. She was best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first non-fiction best-seller by an African-American woman. Her work reflects the theme of this year’s campaign - ‘the mind, body and spirit’ - and illustrates the author’s struggle with racist and homophobic abuse. 
 



 
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