Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
01234 842208
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Grant Funding 2020/2021 allocations
The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Grant Fund process has concluded. Partners have had the outcomes of that process shared directly with them to ensure all know of the available services that will run for the next financial year.
 
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) aimed to support bids in the following areas:
 
1.    Early Intervention - for young people with a focus on drivers of crime such as drugs. The Commissioner was looking for multiple bids of up to £15,000 per project and the bid was either to be co-funded or jointly bid for with other contributing organisations. 
2.    Domestic Abuse - for both male and female victims as well as covering all of Bedfordshire.
 
The 2020/2021 grant fund consisted of joint funding from multiple organisations including; the Community Safety Fund, Ministry of Justice Fund and funds acquired from the Police Property Regulations 1975 - giving a total of £1,646,972. From this, £310,000 had been set aside for a new PCC to allocate. However, with the change in legislation adopted only two weeks ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our PCC, Kathryn Holloway, has accepted that it is her responsibility to remain in post given that the election is delayed for a full year.  PCC Holloway has announced she will re-open this fund with a purpose of furthering Domestic Abuse support and early intervention programmes for 10-13 year olds that can be conducted during this difficult time i.e. remotely, since projects requiring face to face interaction are not possible to deliver.
 
Overall, the OPCC received 42 applications for funding, totalling £1,734,889, which is significantly in excess of the total fund available.
 
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has now announced the successful applicants as follows: 
 
  • Bedfordshire Police Projects – including such areas as trap vans, neighbourhood watch, mental health demand reduction, stalking and sexual harassment prevention orders: total funding allocated: £140,000
  • Offender Management Projects including Youth Offending Services, Direction and the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts - total funding allocated: £245,393
  • Early Intervention Projects – including some truly inspirational projects that are practically supporting and educating our young people: total funding allocated: £92,609
  • Victim Services Projects – including Signpost, and tailored support for young people through Embrace: total funding allocated: £406,086
  • Domestic Abuse/ Domestic Focus Projects – including outbound support, programmes, offender management programmes and further training for professionals: total funding allocated: £232,323
  • Counselling and Counselling based Early Intervention Projects - total funding allocated: £95,133
 
In 2020, the OPCC has chosen to fund several organisations to deliver Early Intervention programmes. One example is Youth Voices CIC who have been supporting young people in Bedford, addressing youth Anti-Social Behaviour. With the help of the PCC's funding, they are hoping to expand the project including a set up in Biggleswade. This organisation has cleverly used locations young people already feel comfortable in (such as McDonalds branches) securing meeting spaces to take the opportunity to engage and guide.
 
Jenny Raine, Head of Service Delivery for Embrace, said “Embrace Child Victims of Crime is delighted to be supported through the provision of a grant awarded from the Bedfordshire PCC to deliver our tailored emotional, practical, holistic and wellbeing support services to young people harmed by crime across Bedfordshire. Our aim is to help children and young people traumatised through the effects of serious crime cope, recover and move on with their lives in a way most suited to them.”
 
Allan Myatt, Chief Executive at Ormiston Families, said “We are very grateful for the ongoing support that Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner has given our Breaking Barriers project in Bedfordshire. Thanks to their ongoing support we have been able to expand provision to reach children with a parent in prison across Bedfordshire, including Luton. This most recent grant will enable us to continue supporting an additional 35 children and young people impacted by parental imprisonment over the next 12 months.”
 
The OPCC also aim to see a more joined-up approach in supporting male and female victims of Domestic Abuse in 2020. The OPCC want to see services working in partnership to provide not only group therapy support, but also increasing face to face support for victims once the pandemic has passed. The support provided to victims will include accessing court, applying for protective orders and having a dedicated Outreach Worker to support them.
 
Michelle Crook, Director of Reactiv8, said “We are delighted to have received funds from the OPCC that enable us to deliver our ‘Reach for The Stars’ programme, a high impact and practical mind-set empowerment programme using proven educational material and British Military coaching techniques to those who have been involved in drugs, violence and criminal activity.  This will be followed by one-to-one bespoke mentoring sessions that provide enhanced advice, guidance and support to empower participants to achieve a life away from drugs, violence and crime. We are always grateful to the PCC for supporting us to support the community across Bedfordshire.”
 
The PCC’s required joint commissioning - and joint funding - approach has also been developed with the NHS and Bedfordshire Police to recruit more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors who will be supporting victims in the community, court and the Sexual Abuse and Rape Clinic.
 
“I hope anyone reviewing my grant funded projects for the year will see some key themes; I am not prepared to fund projects which operate in silos but those which are jointly paid for with a series of commissioners to ensure greater sustainability as we cannot help children, victims of Domestic Abuse and prisoners wanting to turn their lives around for a last year with me as PCC, only to drop them suddenly in future.
 
“I favour common sense, practical and innovative solutions to problems but must now look to distribute the last £240,000 of my fund to projects which can offer diversionary activities online to young people in hotspot areas and help to those suffering abuse at home which is anticipated to rise during this enforced period of self-isolation,” said the PCC.
 
For further information regarding applying for a grant for such projects, please contact
PCC-Commissioning@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk
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PCC’s office, police charity and Fire set up emergency parcel service for the elderly

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service have been working together to help support the most vulnerable in communities by setting up an emergency parcel delivery service for vulnerable elderly residents.

 

The PCC’s office now heads up oversight of the police charity, the Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust which runs the well-known Bobby Van scheme countywide which usually provides free home security checks and security fittings for the elderly and vulnerable. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic started, the scheme has been reworked to start delivering free home deliveries of food, personal hygiene and household cleaning products. 

 

The Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust started their campaign two weeks ago and delivered 50 care parcels in the first week to individuals who were assessed as highly vulnerable. Bedfordshire’s Fire and Rescue Service then agreed with the PCC’s office to take over and extend this scheme, given their higher numbers and access to transport. 

 

The emergency parcel service was first suggested by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner's Chief of Staff Clare Kelly who negotiated with supermarket chain Lidl to provide the contents of parcels.

 

“This was a brilliant idea of Clare’s and is just the sort of common sense, pragmatic approach to problems that I hope my office team always shows. It’s clearly vitally important that all those in public service come together to offer the support that’s so needed by our communities and this was one practical way in which we could really help, well before the Government’s Community Hub delivery scheme for those without family support was proposed.

 

“Having taken over the governance of the Bobby Van scheme and the police charity, the Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust, we knew that we had access to vans and the fantastic staff who deliver the service but they were relatively few and far between. The involvement of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service meant we now have capacity to expand it to meet the need.

 

“I’m incredibly grateful to Chief Officer Paul Fuller and his workforce who did not hesitate for a moment to accept the offer to get involved and parcels have now been delivered to their Halsey Road base in Bedford to help distribute on our behalf,” said the PCC.

 

OPCC Chief of Staff Clare Kelly said: “I really wanted us to do something practical to help those who just can’t get out to the shops at all and who might be faced with empty shelves if they could. Knowing the resources we had within the Partnership Trust, I just knew they’d be really keen to help. The Fire Service agreeing to help build on the scheme has been the icing on the cake and they have the workforce and transport to deliver whatever might prove necessary.”

 

The OPCC is taking nominations for those in particular need via email at pcc@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk as the Commissioner’s office continues to co-ordinate deliveries.

 

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Officer Paul Fuller explained why he was keen for the fire service to get involved: “I am pleased we are able to develop this great idea from Clare Kelly and the PCC which I hope will enable our firefighters to help several hundred people throughout Bedfordshire. This will help to support those most vulnerable at this difficult time. I have been taking some of the parcels out myself and the feedback we have received is one of immense gratitude. By working together we can reach more people by pooling our resources. We aim to get out to over 850 people over the next week and we will continue to do so for as long as we are needed.”

 

Elderly and vulnerable residents needing further help may wish to contact the following specialist services too:- 

-       Age UK – 0800 169 6565 

-       British Red Cross – 0344 871 1111

-       Refuge – 0808 200 0247 

-       Samaritans – 0330 094 5717

-       Salvation Army – 0300 303 8151 

-       MIND – 0300 123 3393 www.mind.org.uk

-       NHS self-help guides www.selfhelpguides.ntw.nhs.uk/bccg/

-       Bedford Borough Council – 01234 267 422

-       Central Bedfordshire Council – 0300 300 8000

-       Luton Borough Council – 01582 546 000

-       Healthwatch https://www.healthwatch.co.uk/

 

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Bedfordshire PCC wins £3m in second Special Grant for Bedfordshire Police

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has won a second unique Special Grant from the Home Office to fight gang, gun and knife crime and fill a hole in the cash-strapped force’s finances - just a day after agreeing to stay for a further year as a Caretaker PCC after elections were postponed for a year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
 

Commissioner Holloway had persuaded Government that the rules for Special Grants in policing needed to be changed to allow forces like Bedfordshire Police to qualify, despite previous criteria which meant that such grants only covered spending in the service that lay outside ‘business as usual’ which took place on a single day. Having done so, PCC Holloway received her first Special Grant last year of £4.571m to cover the unprecedented costs of fighting gang, gun and knife crime in the county over a three year period. She has now been awarded a further £3m for the Force to also assist with these costs in 2020-21.

“Only yesterday I launched my publication to mark the end of my fourth year and what should have been the end of my term, before the PCC election was delayed by Government by a year to May 2021. I have set aside my own plans to stay until then as I believe that only someone who has been chosen by the people of this county should be a Caretaker PCC but, as you can imagine, it gives me huge pleasure that the Grant I’ve fought so hard for has indeed come in and I’m going to be able to deliver on its promise.

“Everybody told me at first that the rules would not be changed and that this wouldn’t be possible. I’m of course delighted that the Home Office recognised that Bedfordshire Police required extra assistance and that the Special Grant was absolutely deserved to help to bring serious youth violence under control and it’s working; the extra money last year enabled the Force to double its specialist response to gang, gun and knife crime - known as Op Boson - with a second unit created for the north of the county to mirror that in the south. Between them they have been responsible for enforcement leading to more than 150 years in prison terms and knife admissions to our hospitals have finally plateaued.

“This means that, flying in the face of solved crime rates across policing, the Op Boson units have achieved between 80 and 90% success in relation to these terrible crimes.

“That’s not all the first Special Grant helped to achieve; as well as vast amounts of Class A drugs, cash and weapons being recovered, I was able to continue to support record recruitment of the 160 PCs I promised last year as well as an additional 18 to cover those who fall out of training (plus a further 18 through the national uplift). If I hadn’t won the grant, recruitment would have had to stop dead to divert funds to pay for the policing of gangs, guns and knife crime,” said the PCC.

Commissioner Holloway pointed to the double benefits that will also arise from this year’s Special Grant, of which the first £2.2m will be paid within the week.

“Without this new Special Grant for £3m, we would not have been able to continue the fight against youth violence at this level. We couldn't have maintained two of these units, however overwhelmingly successful, without a £2m hole in the Bedfordshire Police budget. As it is, Op Boson’s successes across the county will continue; some very dangerous people will be put away and drugs gangs will continue to be dismantled and I will prove all that to the Policing Minister Kit Malthouse in an end of year report once we reach the end of March as he needs to know what ‘more’ he gets for ‘more’ investment, when looking back over the first year of Special Grant support.

“Not only that but I will be able to recruit 156 PCs this year - 100 to replace leavers, 20 as I’d promised as brand new posts and 36 more as our share of the national uplift; Covid-19 permitting of course.

“This means that this is now an excellent time to apply to join policing in Bedfordshire as you can put in an application whether or not you are able to travel,” said the Commissioner.

Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said: “This is excellent news for the force and the law abiding citizens and communities of Bedfordshire, it will enable us to continue our focus on guns, gangs and knife crime with our excellent Boson teams leading the way in tackling these determined criminals. Whilst it ensures that we continue to grow our workforce to meet the increasingly complex and serious challenges faced by policing today, we know that until the funding formula is revised we will not be able to meet the current and future levels of demand in the way that the Commissioner, myself, all my officers and staff and importantly the public would like.”  

However PCC Holloway pointed to her concern over warnings that the Special Grant process may not be able to be accessed in the same way in future years.

“PCCs and Chiefs have been warned by the Minister that he intends such Special Grants to return to their original purpose to cover events occurring on a single day, such as a terror event or call on policing to protect the US president or recent NATO conference at Watford. I feel strongly that the people of this country and county want the money they invest in our policing, either through general taxation or the local precept, to be spent on their own protection.

“I’m very grateful for both Special Grants which I won because the Home Office Police Funding team is fully aware that, until the whole national funding pot and the way it is divided among forces is reviewed, Bedfordshire Police simply does not have the resources from either Central Government or the council taxpayer to meet its extraordinary level of demand. That’s clearly recognised at the centre and these two Special Grants mean it can never again be argued that the reverse is true,” she said.

The ongoing precarious financial position of the Force and its limited front line - despite 18 extra officers last year and 36 this financial year as a share of the 20,000 strong national uplift - to deal with such serious and violent crime on its patch, is the reason why Bedfordshire Police was also recognised among the 18 forces in most urgent need for a further £1.36m grant to increase visible policing against serious violence in 2019-20. 

“This built on the Op Boson work with phenomenal successes, especially from the purchase of earlier forensics, to allow very dangerous people to be charged within the required time frame and put away for a long time. It also meant that we could pay for enhanced data analysis to produce a product to precisely target emerging gang, gun and knife crime hotspots and paid for the Op Sparkler patrols, flooding such areas in a very targeted way and using stop and search and other tactics to crackdown on those responsible. This is now recognised as a national blueprint for success,” said PCC Holloway. 

Bedfordshire’s Assistant Chief Constable,  Dr Jackie Sebire, the national lead for serious violence, is responsible for the county’s operational response to such violence and the Op Boson and Op Sparkler patrol outcomes.

She said: “We have shown that when we are provided with sufficient funding our staff are able to make a significant impact. We have devised an nationally  innovative evidence strategy combined with the professionalism and dedication of our staff which we can now see the successes of.”

Both the PCC and senior leaders of Bedfordshire Police say they are fully aware that police enforcement alone cannot solve the gang, gun and knife crime problem, which can only be stamped out by dealing with root causes and diverting young people away from gang membership, gun and knife carrying and exploitation in the first place.

The PCC won a further £880,000 grant, with the help of ACC Sebire, last year which has led to the setting up of the county’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit bringing police, youth offending, local authority, health and charity partners together to work with communities to find solutions that will connect with their young people. This week, the PCC’s office was submitting a second bid to the Home Office for match funding to continue with the unit.

“I’ve pointed out to the Home Office, who have said they are beyond impressed with the work done so far in Bedfordshire and the speed of the progress of the VERU, that funding - as in Germany - needs to be made available for at least 10 years or we will never know whether these approaches change attitudes and behaviour in the following generation.

“I’ve also written to the Minister to make him fully aware of how vital these two Special Grants have been and future extra assistance will continue to be until the national funding formula is finally adjusted and rebalanced, as I have been promised, to continue this outstanding progress in Bedfordshire which has led to the Force being graded as ‘Good’ across the board this year by the police watchdog,” said Commissioner Holloway.

Those wishing to apply to join Bedfordshire Police can find details available on the Bedfordshire Police website.

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PCC agrees to stay on as 'a Caretaker PCC' after election delay and releases her end of term report detailing the transformation of Bedfordshire Police during her four years in the role.

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is to stay as the county’s PCC for a further year after elections for her successor were suspended for 12 months due to the coronavirus but has said she will do so as a Caretaker PCC since there will be no democratic mandate for any PCC after May 7, when elections were due to have taken place.

 

Commissioner Holloway made the announcement today (19 March 2020) as she released what had been intended as an End of Term Report to detail the transformation of the Force which she has presided over since becoming its PCC in May 2016.

 

Last month (7 February 2020) Bedfordshire Police was graded “Good” in all possible areas by the police watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services - for all of efficiency, effectiveness, leadership, legitimacy and keeping people safe. The Force’s Inspector, HMI Matt Parr, said he was “very impressed” and now considers the Force to be “well run” and “well led”, singling out the PCC for credit, telling ITV: "Two or three years ago Bedfordshire Police was languishing with some pretty poor grades from (the) Inspectorate: they've absolutely turned it around. I think we don't often say this but genuine credit to both the former and current Chief Constable and to the Police and Crime Commissioner who's presided over a big turnaround.” 

 

The Commissioner robustly campaigned for better funding for Bedfordshire Police throughout the last four years and has achieved more additional funding from Central Government over her term than at any time in the past 20 years, including reworking the criteria for a Policing Special Grant to bring £4.571m to the Force in 2019-20, with a second Special Grant promised imminently. In the last financial year, the Home Office awarded a further £1.36m for an uplift in policing relating to serious youth violence, a grant of £880,000 to set up a Violence Exploitation Reduction Unit to tackle the root causes of such gang, gun and knife crime and has invited a bid for a further £880,000 for this year.

 

The report to mark the end of the PCC’s fourth year in her role pointed to the other achievements of which she is most proud including her introduction of the Signpost Victim Care Support Hub (on website signpostforbedfordshire.com and freephone 0800 0282 887, six days a week) which the watchdog considered “notable practise” to be shared with all other forces. Signpost aims to contact victims of recorded crime in Bedfordshire within 24 hours by letter or phone. The Signpost service continues to operate despite the coronavirus.

 

Commissioner Holloway became the first PCC in the country this year to fund Family Drug and Alcohol Courts in which parents with addictions commit to an intensive rehabilitation programme and meetings with a judge, in care proceedings. In practise, outside Bedfordshire, the courts have been proven by the Universities of Lancaster and Brunel to be twice as effective in ending drug and alcohol addiction for the parent and keeping families together, five years on.

 

PCC Holloway created the Direction service in 2019-20, linking those exiting Bedford Prison and the Criminal Justice system with local support services including accommodation, health services and help to reconnect with estranged families. Her office negotiated an arrangement with the Department of Work and Pensions to offer same day benefits and employment advice to those leaving prison. Direction is also backed by a website - DirectionforBedfordshire.co.uk - and freephone call centre advisors on freephone 0800 917 5579, which is run by charity Youturn Futures which works with formerly prolific offenders who are trying to turn their lives around.

 

Throughout her term, PCC Holloway has promoted the wellbeing of Bedfordshire’s officers and staff including, this year, promoting an arrangement with Magistrates to view the Body Worn Video of an assault on an officer, even when an assailant pleads guilty, so that they can judge the severity of the offence for themselves, in advance of sentencing. She introduced a Targeted Healthcare Scheme to offer frontline officers a fast track to diagnosis and treatment, when facing a long wait, and free healthcare screening and a monthly health drop in advisory service, working with the world class Sports Science department of the University of Bedfordshire.

 

In February (2020), Commissioner Holloway achieved her ambition to open a centre outside a hospital setting for the first time in Bedfordshire for the victims of sexual crimes, with age appropriate areas for children, teenagers and adults, which was declared the new gold standard for such centres by the NHS regional lead for the East of England.

 

“I do not think that anyone could claim that I have sat on my hands over the last four years and I'm awaiting a second Special Grant any day, as promised in writing by both the last and current Policing Ministers. I had intended to step down after a series of achievements of which I am more proud than any in my 38 year career

 

"When the postponement of the election was announced, without any consultation, I was not prepared to be bounced into a decision over staying or going which is why I have waited until now, having properly considered the implications. I do not have a full time Deputy PCC and my excellent unpaid volunteer Deputy, Justine Currell, has a full time national role in relation to Human Trafficking. I do not believe that an unelected member of my staff, however talented, and certainly no external candidate, would be an appropriate replacement as I believe in democracy and at least I have been elected by the people of this county.

 

“I have, therefore, decided that there is no realistic alternative but for me to abandon the new professional engagements that I had been in the process of arranging and to become a Caretaker PCC. No Commissioner will have a democratic mandate after May 7 so, coronavirus permitting, I trust they will do as I will and continue with the essential business of governance and public reassurance in these circumstances but it would be quite wrong to introduce any major change that should be approved via the ballot box.

 

“I have consulted the politically independent Chair of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel who hold me to account, Paul Cain. He tells me he is wholly in favour of my decision and the reasons I am giving for it.

 

“I am being required to serve as PCC because of the pandemic and I have no intention of pretending that it is not taking place and that alternate arrangements to those that are the norm are now required for this year. This does not mean, of course, that my office and I will not continue to deliver practical, common sense benefits to and on behalf of policing to the people of Bedfordshire,” said PCC Holloway.

 

As a Caretaker PCC, Commissioner Holloway will ensure that:-

 

* All possible assistance that can be provided to communities by her office will be delivered, which will now include a £60,000 fund to provide alternative accommodation for victims of Domestic Abuse, which is expected to rise due to enforced home isolation as a result of the coronavirus, Covid 19.

 

* The Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust which the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) now oversees, which runs the Bobby Van service which delivers free home security advice and lower cost crime prevention devices to the most vulnerable, will deliver emergency parcels to particularly vulnerable and isolated elderly people who have been the victim of crime from this afternoon (Thursday March 19 2020). (This scheme is the brainchild of the OPCC Chief of Staff, Clare Kelly, who has secured a pledge from supermarket chain Lidl to provide access to essential food, personal hygiene and cleaning items and has linked with the Fire Service and local ambassador schemes to set the service up.) 

 

* Grants commissioning for Victim Support and Community Safety continues and all grants so far will be subject to ongoing scrutiny to ensure they deliver as promised and within the year.

 

* The last £240k of grant funding will now open for bids as Commissioner Holloway had kept money back for her successor to allocate after May.

 

* The PCC’s governance and scrutiny of policing continues unabated but will be remotely delivered - including, in PCC Holloway’s case, at least weekly teleconferences with the Chief and Deputy Chief Constables, a monthly publicly minuted Strategic Governance Board with the Bedfordshire Police Executive team, bi-monthly Strategic Alliance Conferences with Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire Police, chairing quarterly conferences in relation to the region’s Counter Terrorism and Serious Organised Crime policing and attending quarterly conferences with the Chiefs and PCCs of Bedfordshire’s Eastern region forces, by teleconference. The OPCC will also be represented at operational performance meetings concerning the Joint Protective Services provided to Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire Police under the leadership of Bedfordshire Police (including the Major Crime Unit, Roads Policing, Firearms Policing, the Dogs Unit, forensic Scientific Services, Civil Contingencies Planning and Operational Support).

 

* The PCC will continue to oversee the £122.1m budget that she has secured for Bedfordshire Police for the year and she will set the police share of council tax - the police precept - for the next year.

 

* Bedfordshire will continue to be represented by Commissioner Holloway at the national Counter Terror Strategic Collaboration Board.

 

* She will continue to report to the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel who hold her to account.

 

* The OPCC will continue to chair the Bedfordshire Criminal Justice Board and Victims Board remotely.

 

* The build of replacement custody facilities at Kempston police HQ will continue, dependent on coronavirus arrangements.

 

*  The process to finalise outline planning permission for the defunct Greyfriars Police Station in Bedford will continue, as long as the planning committee sits or is able to make decisions, and the sale will be considered against the prevailing economic position.

 

* A refurbishment programme to improve officer and staff working facilities, led by the PCC personally, will resume as soon as practically possible.

 

Anyone wishing to offer to assist with the content of emergency parcels during the current emergency should contact Commissioner Holloway’s office on . 

 

Any organisation wishing to apply for a grant for the next year with a service to assist victim support or community safety which can be delivered under the current constraints of the coronavirus advice limiting social contact should approach the Bedfordshire OPCC on PCC@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.

 

“It is in the interests of my force that I do not share either my own reaction or professional viewpoint concerning the wisdom of allowing your own people to hear first about matters impacting on their lives and futures in the news headlines at the same time as everybody else, though clearly the Crisis Management industry holds extremely clear and long established views on this,” said the Commissioner.

 

PCC Holloway is a globally recognised Crisis Communications specialist, whose key area of expertise has been the release of public information in an emergency, especially in mass fatality events, for 17 years before taking up her current role; for example, she has twice been a keynote speaker and seminar leader at the international Business Continuity and Public Sector Resilience Industry's World Conference in Disaster Management (WCDM) in Toronto, prior to becoming the PCC of Bedfordshire.

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A statement from Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway

I have been deeply impressed by the response of Bedfordshire Police, the services I run and commission and those that partner with my office in their response to COVID 19 - the Coronavirus.

 

I would like to assure the public that the contingency plans put in place by Bedfordshire Police are allowing a full service to operate.  As impact on officer and staff numbers may become apparent in coming weeks, the Force is diligently preparing to offer an appropriate response and to deliver business as usual, as far as reasonably possible.

 

My victim support hub, Signpost, is also well structured to respond to the current situation and all staff are prepared for any changes to ensure that our most vulnerable residents in Bedfordshire continue to receive a good service.

 

Signpost and my own office have been involved in thorough preparations for home working if and when required.

 

Police service is even more essential when the country requires support at this level and although I appreciate the drive that all my police colleagues have to serve the public, they must also look after their own health and that of their loved ones. 

 

We can do that together by adhering to the guidance set out for us by Public Health: - 

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/ 

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As new grant is expected, Bedfordshire PCC stands down to allow her replacement to invest new and different skills in the improvement of policing.

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has announced that she is to step aside as the PCC for the county after four years in the role - as another Policing Special Grant from Government is expected imminently - to give another Commissioner the chance to invest new skills in policing in the county, in line with the original plan for the role.

 

In the last financial year, the PCC has been successful in getting the Government to re-write the rules of its Special Grant process, which usually relied on making a payment to cover an event on one particular day outside business as usual in policing, to win £4.571m for cash-strapped Bedfordshire Police to meet the unprecedented cost of fighting gang, gun and knife crime in the previous two years and that anticipated in 2019-20. The money allowed the Force to double its specialist unit - Operation Boson - creating one team for the north, in addition to the existing response in the south of the county - delivering 150 years of prison terms as a result. The PCC was also able to protect recruitment as a result and deliver on her promise to recruit 160 officers, in a higher recruitment drive than for a decade in the Force, and exceed this by another 18 officers to replace potential candidates falling out of training, plus a further 18, as the first of the national uplift promised by the Government.

 

“I think it’s always a good idea to quit while you’re ahead and I’m more proud of what’s been achieved on behalf on Bedfordshire Police, which deserved someone to fight its corner and to do so with the gloves off, than of anything I’ve ever done in the workplace in 37 years.

 

“I’m expecting a second Special Grant once more this year - any day in fact - and have it in writing from our current Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, and his predecessor that this is guaranteed. I’ve waited as long as I can before the selection process for a candidate to replace me in Bedfordshire to make this announcement but, as it takes place on Saturday (29 February 2020), it’s time to break my silence.

 

“The whole idea behind PCCs was never that this should be a job for life but that people with specific, proven experience in the wider commercial world should come into policing and invest those skills before moving on to allow someone else to arrive to bring in a whole new range of skills. I’d built up a business working internationally in Crisis Management and Communications with multiple governments, police forces, our military and the boards of large corporations before coming to Bedfordshire Police. I stood as PCC because I felt that the message about Bedfordshire Police's absolutely genuine level of need, due to its historically inadequate share of national police funding under every government of every shade, needed to be presented differently, with proper evidence and someone telling it like it is.

 

“The two unique Special Grants prove conclusively that this fantastic force, staffed by colleagues I will treasure all my life - especially my current Chief Constable Garry Forsyth and his predecessor Jon Boutcher - is not given a core grant which can cover all the complex crime it faces here and which it cannot drive away due to factors totally outside policing; including an international airport that connects with some of the most fragile states in Europe, main transportation routes such as the M1 and A1 which appeal to Organised Crime Gangs, its proximity to London crime which spills over through county lines drug running and gang, gun and knife crime. 

 

"Despite all this - this month - the Force where I inherited an ‘inadequate’ grading from the police watchdog has been graded ‘good' across the board and this has been very much part of my decision and of the pride I feel in what has been achieved here with the help of every single officer and every single member of staff, together with our partners,” said PCC Holloway. 

 

* On 7 February, the police watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services credited Commissioner Holloway publicly, along with her Chief Constables past and present, for a turnaround in its grading of Bedfordshire Police since its ‘inadequate’ grade - which she challenged - was issued to the Force for its effectiveness for 2016. Bedfordshire Police is now graded as ‘good’ in every category of the inspection, for all of effectiveness, efficiency, leadership, legitimacy and for keeping people safe. Bedfordshire’s HMI Matt Parr said: "Two or three years ago Bedfordshire Police was languishing with some pretty poor grades from (the) Inspectorate: they've absolutely turned it around. I think we don't often say this but genuine credit to both the former and current Chief Constable and to the Police and Crime Commissioner who's presided over a big turnaround." 

 

* The victim support service PCC Holloway established - the Signpost Hub - contacting victims of recorded crime within 24 hours by letter or via freephone 0800 0282 887 and also at signpostforbedfordshire.com, was singled out by the watchdog as “notable practise” ie best practise in policing, to be recommended to the 43 forces of England and Wales. 

 

* Since May 2016 when she took up the post, Commissioner Holloway has brought more funds from central government than for more the 20 years into the cash-strapped and under-resourced force by arguing its case robustly in public, in the media and behind the doors of government. Outside council tax precept rises and the £4.571m Special Grant so far, in the last year, the PCC helped to win a further £1.36m for an uplift in visible police response to the serious youth violence problems of Bedfordshire, £880,000 to set up a new Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit uniting police, local authorities, the youth offending services, health and charities to target the root causes of youth violence and a repeat promise of matched funding of the unit this year. 

 

* Also in the past year, Kathryn Holloway has become the only PCC in the country to fund the setting up of Family Drug and Alcohol Courts in Bedfordshire for the first time, which involve parents with drug and alcohol addictions in regular meetings with a judge in care proceedings, being supported in an intensive rehabilitation programme. These courts have been assessed by both Lancaster and Brunel Universities as having a 50% greater chance of keeping families together, with parents free of their addictions, five years after taking part in the process.

 

* On 10 February, Commissioner Holloway achieved her ambition to set up a new Sexual Assaults Referral Centre, outside a hospital setting for the first time in Bedfordshire, in a soothing environment with separate age-appropriate rooms for children, teenagers and adult victims and those who accompany them.

 

* The PCC also funded a new service for ex offenders in 2019-20 to try to stop the revolving door back to prison - Direction, a website (with contents of available support services prepared with ex prisoners from HMP Bedford) DirectionforBedfordshire.co.uk and a call centre on freephone 0800 917 5579. Her office negotiated an agreement with the Department of Work and Pensions to create same day advice in its Jobcentres in Bedfordshire so that prisoners get access to benefits and employment advice to try to prevent an income gap likely to drive them straight back to crime. 

 

Bedfordshire’s Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth said “Kathryn Holloway has been simply an outstanding PCC for Bedfordshire Police and has been instrumental in the transformation of the force over the last four years through the support she has afforded not only to myself and my predecessor Jon Boutcher but to all the officers, staff and public of Bedfordshire.

 

“Kathryn has worked tirelessly with passion and commitment for the public she was elected to represent and with the core values that drive her so strongly combined with her genuine care and compassion for the workforce she has made a real difference in the role. She has never hesitated to speak truth to power, robustly when it's needed, and has been a tremendous force for good for the force and the county. I and my colleagues wish her every success in her future ventures.”

 

The PCC said, “Garry is a superb Chief. He understands policing business here inside out and how to connect with our communities and the whole force too. I will miss him enormously but suspect - and hope - that we will still connect over an outstanding Bedfordshire curry to discuss the way the Force continues to be on the up and up under his command in future years!

 

“I’ve tried my level best to deliver exactly what I promised and, if anyone of any political persuasion examines the Police and Crime Plan that I created in 2016 for this four year term, I trust they will agree with the Police and Crime Panel who hold me to account that this is exactly what has been done. I’ve tried not to divide partners or the public through politics - as policing should be the only thing that matters in this role - and Bedfordshire Police is the most extraordinary force for keeping its head up and delivering policing to a high national standard to turn expectations around. I will always come out of my corner to fight for it if necessary and the public should be exceptionally proud of the police force which serves it to the very best of its ability, despite all of its challenges,” said PCC Holloway.

 

Paul Cain, the politically independent Chair of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel said: "It has been a real pleasure working with our elected PCC, Kathryn Holloway over the past 4 years simply because she has been such a driving force in leading and pushing for change over the period of her appointment. Whilst I am personally very sorry to see Kathryn leave office, she has left behind a huge legacy in all of the many areas she has delivered on. The original Police and Crime Plan issued within days of her appointment in 2016 has been fully delivered and we cannot underestimate the efforts she has continually placed behind lobbying for better funding for the force. Bedfordshire Police is in a very much better place today than it was 4 years ago due to her drive and determination, and the extra funding she has achieved.

 

“Looking forward, the Police and Crime Panel will continue to hold the incoming elected PCC to account to deliver their new Plan for Bedfordshire Police, and we will continue to work closely with the new PCC in order to assist in any way we can. We certainly do not under estimate the massive funding issues we still need to overcome in order to continue to properly support and fund our Force and the ongoing changes needed to protect the people of Bedfordshire from ever-changing threats."

 

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PCC opens new youth hub to help divert young people away from gangs, violence and anti social behaviour

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has formally opened a new youth meeting point for young people in Shefford after funding its refurbishment.

The project in Millennium Green, Shefford, has been backed with £5,000 of funding from the Commissioner’s new Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) which works with communities as well as partners such as local councils, the Youth Offending Service and charities to combat youth violence and wider crime.

Shefford Town Council and the Grand Union Housing project will also work with other VERU-backed projects to engage with children and young people in the town.

 

“I’m absolutely delighted to be able to back this project that gives young people somewhere to go and allows the very talented youth workers running projects in the town to have a location for mentoring. 

"I couldn’t be more impressed by the approach of Shefford Town Council, which is frankly a model for all such councils across Bedfordshire, in stepping into the void of youth provision after school and in the school holidays now so many youth clubs and extra curricular activities no longer exist. 

 

“The Mayor, Paul Mackin, and his councillors work ceaselessly with Bedfordshire Police’s Community Policing Hub for North Bedfordshire to deliver enforcement where crime is being committed but we all, also, want to step in earlier before involvement in Anti Social Behaviour or gangs blights these young lives and those of victims,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The project in Shefford has enabled former changing rooms to be brought back into use for a range of sessions for young people. As well as sports activities, the space will also be used to facilitate a bike repair project, mentoring young people, employment support and drop in sessions.

The project has been driven forward by the town council and, in particular, Nicola King, a town councillor and youth participation officer at Grand Union Housing. 

The housing association is running an outreach programme in the town where youth workers mount patrols to engage with young people and offer them advice.

The 'Inspiring People' project, which is running workshops with young people teaching them skills such as photography and media production, will also be holding sessions at the youth hub.

Both of these projects have been funded by the VERU.

As well as the VERU, the PCC also recently ran a separate grant funding round from her £1.6m Commissioner’s Fund for projects focussing on early intervention for young people, with a focus on drivers of crime such as drugs

Councillor Mackin said: "Shefford Town Council has operated a vigorous youth activities programme for several years. Recently, we became aware that the needs of young people were changing with the growing criminal activity moving into the area, compounded by a lack of resources in other social services departments.

"This meant that the requirements of the young people were becoming more difficult to fulfil; they need a deeper level mentoring and supervision service rather than just a simple recreational activity. 

"Thanks to the funding provided by the PCC, we were able to renovate a disused building that will be staffed by qualified volunteers, led by town councillor Nicola King, to provide dedicated mentoring and one-on-one counselling. 

"The youth hub will be used by our youth involvement team to carry out this work and a full range of activities, as well as a secure meeting place and, with the provision of an internet connection, a range of communication facilities. We are truly grateful to the PCC for the opportunity to create this youth hub for the benefit of the young people in Shefford.”

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OPCC seeks Youth Ambassadors to give young people a voice on policing in the new Beds Youth Council

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is calling on teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 to help create the Bedfordshire Youth Council (BYC) and become an influencer in focus groups.

The aim of the BYC is to encourage local young people to have their say on how to improve the quality of policing and to improve trust and reassurance within communities. The group will give Bedfordshire Police advice on issues that affect young people, for example, gang, knife and gun crime. They will also consult with police on plans that might impact on youth culture, offering a new way in which to make a difference to how young communities are policed.

“The problem has traditionally been that organisations too often put in place plans affecting young people that they think will work rather than allowing them to have a voice themselves. It’s never been more important to have the input of teenagers in policing because the social media they use to connect and share information is changing all the time. Just look at Facebook, it’s something their parents and grandparents use and they can’t be reached through television news because fewer and fewer young people watch tv programmes at set times at all, streaming the material they want to watch when they want to watch it instead,” said the Commissioner.

“I don’t just want to reach young people who are already on side where confidence in police is concerned. I need those who have the opposite view too so we can understand why that is, and there’s something in joining the council and taking part in focus groups for them too: every college and almost every job requires a CV and testimonials; being involved in something like this is something to shout about,” she said.

 BYC members will, initially, be between the ages of 13 and 17 and drawn from a broad range of backgrounds. The council will include those who may be at risk of entering the criminal justice system, ex-offenders and victims of crime or come from areas where youth violence is part of their everyday lives. 

The council will offer Bedfordshire Police a continuous sounding board of those who may be most affected by crime and police intervention and will allow the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the Force to fully hear the voices of young people across Bedfordshire.

 

The vision of the BYC is to allow young people to have the chance to:

·         Speak directly with police officers and decision makers to “youth proof” policies, protocols and strategies.

·         Provide advice to Bedfordshire Police to help monitor and improve the quality of the policing service being delivered and help  them understand issues that affect young people.

·         Build relationships between police, young people and communities.

·         Be able to express their views openly and honestly.

·         Raise the profile of young people within the community while improving their leadership skills.

OPCC Community Engagement Officer and Beds Youth Council Lead, Zoe Fraser explained “This is a fantastic opportunity for the young people of Bedfordshire to have their voices heard. We've already taken this concept to colleges around Bedford and we have had lots of interest. We are really looking forward to hearing what young people have to say about policing and what they would like to see happen in their towns and villages."

“Please get involved. It’s no good complaining about how police approach issues like knife carrying in your schools and colleges if you’re not prepared to speak up and tell them what you think would get the message across instead,” said PCC Holloway.

If you would be interested in joining Bedfordshire Youth Council, or for more information, visit the Beds Youth Council (BYC) page.

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PCC, Police and partners celebrate opening of new centre to support victims of sexual crimes described as the new ‘gold standard’
Bedfordshire’s PCC, Kathryn Holloway, Bedfordshire Police and the NHS have opened a new specialist centre to support victims of sexual crimes and investigate on their behalf, designed by the Commissioner as a new ‘gold standard’ service (on Monday 10 February 2020).
 
The PCC’s office had been seeking a building for almost four years in which to base the Sexual Assaults Referral Centre (SARC) in order to move it from a hospital setting to a more supportive and home-like environment for the first time in Bedfordshire.
 
The PCC has invested £475,000 in the new SARC for the county, made up of £300,000 of her police budget, £175,000 of her Commissioner’s Fund - as her single largest grant of her four year term - and £75,000 of help from the NHS. Moving forward, the running costs of the new centre will be split 50-:50 between Police and the NHS.
 
“In 2020 and in future a hospital is not the appropriate place to bases services for those who’ve experienced rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse, in my view. However fantastic the service - and I know that provided by the Bedfordshire SARC staff currently is exemplary - a hospital is associated with sickness, death and disease and that is unhelpful, at the very least.
 
“Incredibly I showed a picture of the new SARC building to my staff nearly four years ago and said ’this is what I’m looking for; a building that looks like a beautiful house, in a peaceful setting, with dedicated parking and an entrance for victims of sexual crimes but a separate entrance and parking area for police officers'. It needed to have space for forensic examination rooms and police evidence suites but, also, for non-forensic waiting rooms that are more like an ideal home from home, to allow such service users to start their recovery as soon as possible.
 
“Almost unbelievably, after considering dozens of alternative sites, the original building which was my inspiration became vacant and I opened negotiations for a long lease on the property with the landlord, which will save around £250,000 a year and provide a far better setting for both victims of crime and the officers, staff and volunteers who work in this very challenging area,” said Commissioner Holloway.
 
While a board of representatives from Bedfordshire Police, the NHS and specialist SARC service provider Mountain Healthcare, drew up the operational and forensic requirements, the PCC designed the interior herself and sourced, purchased, stored and installed every other item in the building. She was inspired by the Cambridgeshire SARC, The Elms, whose management, staff, volunteers, forensic nurses and a representative of SARC service users she interviewed to gain their advice concerning the best aspects of design and any learning points, such as recessed upper cabinets in the forensic examination rooms to allow nurses to label samples with clear headroom.
 
The completed Bedfordshire SARC was visited for the first time by regional NHS head of health and justice, Claire Weston, who leads the commissioning of health services for people who have experienced sexual assault and abuse. She told launch guests, “It’s fair to say that when SARCs were first launched there was a huge desire to provide the best service possible but to do that, some compromises had to be made. We’ve all learned so much since then and from what I see of the new Bedfordshire SARC today there don’t seem to have been any compromises on what is now being offered.  NHS England is confident that  the Bedfordshire SARC offers a compassionate and expert response to survivors of all genders and ages, whether or not they choose to pursue their case through the courts, or not”
 
The PCC commented: “I’ve heard three things from visitors which have absolutely delighted me, given the ambition I had for this building: a five-year-old who was shown the family waiting room having been told that children need to be looked after there said, completely unprompted, “It’s so peaceful and safe.” A recent user of the existing SARC service toured the building and told us that, while the people who had looked after her were unfailingly kind and supportive, she felt she would have been far happier about the whole experience if she had visited the new facility. 
 
“Last but not least, the regional lead for the NHS told the Deputy Chief Constable, my Chief of Staff and I that my original inspiration - the Cambridgeshire SARC - had been her own ‘gold standard’ but she now thinks that the Bedfordshire facility has moved into that position. This makes this quite simply the greatest achievement of my term as PCC and the one of which I am proudest.”
 
Deputy Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst told the audience: “If a member of my own family was a victim of this sort of terrible crime, that can happen to anyone, I’d like to think that they would feel supported by coming to this building. It’s taken a huge amount of work and partners working together to iron out all the competing needs but now it’s been achieved. Many people have been thanked but I’d like to say thank you to the Commissioner without whose focus and drive this may never have happened.”
 
The Bedfordshire SARC will become a base for some of Bedfordshire Police’s specialist rape and sexual crimes team, a visiting base for the DCC and the workplace for specially trained SARC staff, volunteers and forensic nursing staff. It includes two interview suites to allow police to interview those who have suffered sexual crime, if the victim wants this to happen. Victims can also be referred to the SARC by the Signpost Victim Support Hub on confidential Freephone 0800 0282 887 Monday-Saturday. Outreach teams will also use the unit for counselling.
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Extra officers to be recruited after Bedfordshire public back plan to increase council tax precept
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has announced that she is to back the recruitment of 156 new Police Constables after an increase in the police share of council tax which was approved by the county’s Police and Crime Panel on Tuesday (4 February 2020).

The panel approved the precept increase - £10 a year for a Band D home - or 84p per month - in order to achieve another £9.7m funding for Bedfordshire Police in 2020/21. It means the PCC can deliver on her promise she made when setting the budget last year of recruiting an additional 20 police officers by 2021, as part of a total of 156 PCs - of whom 36 are Bedfordshire’s share of the national uplift in 2020/21 and 100 are needed to replace leavers. (The core grant from Government also includes payment for 18 extra officers who were recruited in the financial year 2019/20 as the first part of the national uplift).

The Home Office had allowed Police and Crime Commissioners nationally to raise the precept without the need for consultation, however Bedfordshire’s OPCC issued a survey which saw 82 per cent of respondents supporting the proposed increase.

“I laid out my plans last year to increase the number of police officers in Bedfordshire, so I am delighted to now have the backing to make this a reality.

“As I have promised, I’m determined that the extra officers will be front line and visible to strengthen the police presence in our communities, so the people of Bedfordshire are directly contributing to making their towns and villages safer”, said Commissioner Holloway.

“I’m delighted that this latest budget continues my pledge to boost the front line of Bedfordshire – which has seen the force grow throughout my four years as Police and Crime Commissioner and means there is a proper plan in place to secure Bedfordshire Police’s future recruitment.

“I have overseen the implementation of Community Hubs across Bedfordshire and the introduction of a Neighbourhood Enforcement Team to tackle those key issues which matter to our residents. The further investment of effectively just 84p a month from every household will have a significant benefit to the county,” said the PCC.

The Home Office had previously given forces extra money to pay for inflation impacted costs such as pay, pensions and insurance.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is also expecting further good news from the Home Office imminently in relation to her application for a second Special Grant to help pay for the force’s response to gang, gun and knife crime. The PCC was previously given a £4.571m Special Grant for Bedfordshire Police for 2018/19 to pay for Boson, allowing it to be doubled with a permanent unit in the north as well as the south of the county.

Commissioner Holloway said: “As I’ve said before, continuing to fund the investment in policing through the council tax precept is simply not sustainable. Bedfordshire must be given funding which reflects the complex crime challenges it faces, rather than continually having to find alternative means to pay for this additional policing requirement through one-off payments or grants.”

Police and Crime Panel Chairman, Paul Cain, said: "At our meeting on 4 February the Police and Crime Panel welcomed and fully supported the commissioner's plans to deliver an increase in police numbers over the coming financial year, and to increase the council tax precept in line with the Government's guidelines. We fully support the ongoing drive to increase police numbers in Bedfordshire.

"However, the panel also strongly voiced their views that central Government simply cannot continue to ignore the central funding issues and their policy of repeatedly asking for the investment through council tax precept funding, and one-off grants. This situation is no longer tenable."

For more information from the Police and Crime Panel, please click here.
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Funding to tackle serious youth violence making an impact

More than six kilos of drugs and £130,000 in criminal cash have been taken off the streets as the direct result of a Government grant for Bedfordshire Police to tackle serious youth violence.
 
Activity funded by the £1.38 million surge funding money has also enabled officers on gang patrols to make 145 arrests and secure jail terms of more than 30 years.
 
Bedfordshire Police were one of 18 police forces with particularly high demand which were handed
funding from the Home Office in April to tackle gun and knife crime involving young people.

National figures released this week show that serious knife crime offences increased by around 25% in the 12 months to September in the county, compared to the previous year.
 
As a direct result of the targeted funding to tackle this issue, officers have been able to…
 
- Seize dozens of weapons including more than 25 knives as well as firearms
- Recover 2.5 kilos of Class A and four kilos of Class B drugs
- Seize around £133,000 in criminal cash
- Make 145 arrests for offences including attempted murder, grievous bodily harm, robbery, arson and possession with intent to supply drugs
- Secure prison sentences for 18 people totalling 30 years and four months

- Run almost 100 Operation Sparkler patrols to tackle gang activity, as well as other operations targeting serious youth violence
- Execute 48 warrants
- Carry out 393 stop searches

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, said: “The policing achievements as a result of the uplift funding from the Home Office prove conclusively what more we can achieve when we are given more; that money invested in Bedfordshire Police and, in particular, in relation to our approach to serious youth violence, is a wise investment indeed.

“This pattern started with the £4.571m Special Grant which I won in December 2018, which has led to 200 years of prison terms by doubling the Force’s specialist unit - Op Boson - to create one Boson team for the north to mirror that in the south of the county, which the Policing Minister has promised in writing to repeat this financial year, given their effectiveness.

“The input of Bedfordshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, Jackie Sebire, cannot be under-estimated in helping to achieve the subsequent £1.38m uplift investment and also £880,000 to set up the county’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU), co-locating partners from local authorities and drawing together youth offending services, health and charities to tackle youth violence.

“I may be able to robustly put our argument to politicians but Jackie heads up the operational delivery on the ground which is producing these exceptional results.

“Admissions for knife crimes to our hospitals are plateauing out, the most serious offenders are being put away and individuals actively diverted from gang activity. This is policing that is working." 

The surge funding money has enabled Bedfordshire Police to carry out more innovative tactics around enforcement to target those involved in serious youth violence. 

Justice McCann, 22, of Ravenhill Way, Luton, was jailed for 22-and-a-half years, with an extended five years on licence, last week after shooting a man in the chest. 

Fast track forensics paid for by the grant identified McCann’s fingerprints on both the victim’s car and on the weapon. 

This ensured he was identified as the prime suspect within 24 hours of the shooting taking place. 

Further use of fast track forensics has helped in prosecutions around the supply of guns, as well as to quickly identify fingerprints on knives and tasers to ensure offenders are swiftly brought to justice. 

Part of this funding has also been used to support the force in securing drug dealing telecommunication restriction orders (DDTROs), where phone lines linked to drug dealing can be shut down. 

The force has so far shut down 14 phone lines using DDTROs. 

Other projects have included boosting the force’s research and analytical capacity to better understand the problem of serious youth violence, including on platforms such as social media. 

Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, the national lead for serious youth violence, said: “This funding has played a huge part in some fantastic work we are doing to tackle this issue and protect our young people. 

“The commissioner has been instrumental in securing various funding sources for Bedfordshire and these results speak for themselves. We are unquestionably in a better position now to tackle serious youth violence than we were before we received this grant. 

“While all this enforcement activity is a significant element in our strategy to reduce serious violence, sustained reductions will only come through prevention and diversion. 

“It is the separate funding for the Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) that is most important in solving this issue for the longer term.”

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PCC shares news of a 49% cut in Anti-Social Behaviour with Houghton Regis Town Council at public meeting
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, held her first public surgery of the new year for the residents of Houghton Regis (Monday 20th January 2020), announcing a dramatic decrease in Anti-Social Behaviour in the town by almost half since this time last year.
 
The PCC credited the excellent partnership approach the council has taken to working with Bedfordshire Police’s local Community Policing Hub for the 49% fall in such crime.  
 
Accompanied by the head of the Force's Houghton Regis Community Policing Hub, Insp Craig Gurr, the Commissioner said: “This town council shows how every council of its type in the county can achieve results for residents by working more closely in partnership. It holds a monthly Combatting Crime Group with police from the Community Hub and helps pass on crime information and even to guide mobile CCTV cameras into the most useful spots in relation to current issues. I’ve singled them out before in my annual reports but the slashing of Anti-Social Behaviour by almost half on last year shows, yet again, that this approach works."
 
The Commissioner opened her address to the Town Council with other good news, amounting to a return of a further visible police presence in the town.
 
She explained that Bedfordshire Police’s new Neighbourhood Enforcement Team (NET), comprised of a Sergeant and nine Police Constables is now being based at the former Houghton Regis Police Station and will be at full strength by April 2020. This team is designed to flex around the county as a trouble shooting taskforce to help stamp out pernicious crime problems emerging at neighbourhood level in support of the local Community Hubs.
 
Insp Craig Gurr also updated the Houghton Regis Town Council on recent successful policing operations in the town under the title Operation Paxton, which targeted an emerging gang in the town involved in rivalry with another from the Lewsey Farm area of Luton, which has led to individuals now going through the criminal justice process in relation to the firing of a shotgun and two stabbings, plus the successful resettlement of a family out of the county.
 
The Commissioner also shared the decision to locate Bedfordshire’s new Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) at Houghton Regis Police Station too, saying, “The VERU is here to co-locate police, local authority, youth offending and partner services working specifically to stamp out Serious Youth Violence and links to Organised Crime Groups around knife and gun use. There are £350,000 worth of grants going out to community groups that have been distributed by the VERU as we want communities themselves to suggest the best solutions for their own young people.”
 
Commissioner Holloway went on to explain the focus of the £4.571 million Special Grant she achieved from the Home Office last year explaining “The Special Grant helped me support the Chief Constable in literally doubling the response to gang crime in this county through Operation Boson, by creating a second team for the north of the county, to mirror that in the south, which has produced huge measurable results including 200 years of prison terms, when taken together with the outcome of the more recent £1.38m grant for an uplift in policing of Serious Youth Violence in Bedfordshire.
 
“We are finally seeing a plateauing off of knife crime admissions to our two A&E departments; in Luton and in Bedford, although any singe admission is one too many."

Community Inspector Craig Gurr stated “The Community Team have always had an excellent working relationship with Houghton Regis Town Council, and in particular the Combatting Crime Working Group. This has paid dividends in terms of producing some significant results in the reduction of both anti-social behaviour and the more serious criminality which effects the quality of life of local residents and serves as a model of partnership working”.
 
Houghton Regis Town Council welcomed the updates from the Commissioner and took the opportunity to thank her for her "significant contribution to policing in the county over the past four years".
 
Councillor Susan Goodchild said “I would like to thank the Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, and her team for the public surgery held in Houghton Regis. The benefit of this level of engagement and the wide range of expertise and experience in the room was evident. Bringing together local, regional and national partners in delivering innovative early intervention and preventive projects, protecting our communities and the most vulnerable is greatly appreciated”.
 
Commissioner Holloway has been holding a series of surgeries with the public around the county, followed by meetings with local town councils, with such events having already taken place in Bedford, Luton, Leighton Buzzard, Shefford and Biggleswade. The next public surgery is due to take place in Sandy on Monday 24th February 2020. 
 
For a full breakdown of public meetings and information on how to book a session with the PCC, please visit the website 
https://www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/general.php?id=277 to register.

 
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