Bedfordshire Police Headquarters

Bridgebury House, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire, MK43 9AX

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Office of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

PCC and Chief Constable Accountability Meetings

PCC Festus Akinbusoye and preferred candidate for Chief Constable, Trevor Rodenhurst

As part of the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) statutory oversight and scrutiny function of policing in Bedfordshire, he holds weekly meetings with the Chief Constable. This allows the PCC to be provided with updates on force activity, to raise matters that have been raised with him by residents, and to liaise on key areas of policing (local, regional and national).

The updates and recordings can be found below.  Please note that these reports do not cover all matters discussed due to operational and commercial sensitivities.

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During my recent one-to-one with Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst, we touched on a few subjects, some of which were from questions sent to me by residents.
Among the areas covered included:
1) Number of police and PCSOs available for Sandy. How does force decide deployments of police resources. Is this based on population size, crime demand levels or combination of both?
2) Update on community police teams, current vacancies and what the teams are tasked with doing?
3) Details on force performance on domestic burglaries in light of public statements by Bedfordshire PCC and now former Mayor of Bedford. Who is right among the two?
4) Update on Force Control Room performance, especially call wait times for 101 and 999. What impact is the new AWS technology having performance? When will the transcript copy of chats and multi-jobs issue be resolved?
5) What plans are in place to accurately measure public confidence? What does the force do with the data?
6) Shopkeepers and businesses have raised concerns about Bedfordshire Police response to business crime. They have CCTV, they know who the individuals are. I am informed police do not call back, and often, nothing happens about their reports. The issue of post incident/reporting contact is a regular complaint. What can the force do to address the concerns of local retailers, especially when they have taken all sensible security measures such as CCTV, alarm systems, tagging products etc?
7) Can the Chief Constable please explain why so few crimes are solved and what can be done to improve these? Recent meetings with residents identified fears about reporting crimes or giving evidence to a crime they witnessed. What advice can the Chief Constable give to residents about how to safely assist an investigation, report a crime and what support is there for such people during an investigation?
You can watch the recording from 25 April 2023 to find out more about the discussions between PCC Festus Akinbusoye and Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst.
  • Casey Review and implications in Bedfordshire. Update on Chief Constable’s strategy for making Bedfordshire Police a truly inclusive environment for all officers and staff. Ongoing work to build strong links with all of our communities.
  • Discussion on what CC is doing to improve crime solve rates, communication with victims, explanation of No Further Action (NFA) decisions by Bedfordshire Police.
  • Update on community policing numbers, vacancy rates and plans to bring community teams up to agreed establishment levels.
  • I received reassurance from the CC that, as agreed, there are no plans to cut the number of PCSOs and Police Officers in Bedfordshire.
  • Update on newly established Student Hub, early learnings and observations re: challenges presented by new unit.
  • Update on retention. Historical average has been 11 per month. February and March have been 5 and 7 leavers respectively. Early days yet. I have asked for another update in autumn for a clearer picture.
  • Recruitment target looking very positive. Record high of 1,453. Target of 1,456 remains aim by March 2023. We might exceed this based on the current pipeline.
  • The number of Special Constables remain stable at approximately 85, but plans to recruit 40 new Special Constables has been set.
  •  In a 24hr period last week, officers attended seven high risk, mental health jobs where there was a threat to life. Sadly, one died from suicide. No ambulance or NHS attendance reported initially. Some included police transportation of patients.
  •  I sought reassurance on security resilience of Bedfordshire Police IT infrastructure from attacks. Specific attention given to Chinese manufactured equipment with access to sensitive data. Safeguards in place.
  • Discussion on firearms capability and renovation of firing range at Kempston HQ.
  •  Status confirmation of Mobile Police Office vehicles for use by community police teams. The three vehicles will be decommissioned and upgraded as part of fleet replacement, not removed.
  • Reassurance on force commitment to National Police Air Service capability. CC confirmed ongoing support and intention to maximise flight time of fixed wing capability as well as use of drones.
This report does not cover all matters discussed due to operational and commercial sensitivities.
  • Pay recommendations, 3.5% implications for delivering 1466 head count and 10 PCs in Community by end of financial year.
  • Sale of now closed Greyfriars Police Station. This has been closed for about six years now, and there are cost implications for this. I am committed to realise capital revenue from this in the short term, as part of wider estate strategy.
  • I updated CC on my meeting with Andy Marsh (CEO College of Policing) and Martin Hewitt (Chair, National Police Chiefs Council) on how policing can improve explanation of its work with public. ‘What, How and Why’ of policing. Received update on what Bedfordshire Police is already doing to this end.
  • Force response and approach to some of the potentially divisive issues being created by a known activist group. I sought assurance on the force balancing responsibility to protect freedom of speech against ensuring zero tolerance for violent disorder, hate speech and incitement.
  • Update on proposals for improving police response in larger market towns and villages.
  • Response to PCC’s public survey from Chief Constable to be published in due course.
  • Vetting backlog update to come next week. Overall trend is that progress is being made to reduce this.
  • Discussion and update on forfeiture orders against OCGs, capability within ERSOU to support this using powers available. I sought confirmation that all available tools and powers are being deployed by Bedfordshire Police and Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) to secure forfeiture orders against criminal gangs.
  • Update on next steps on MH related work by police officers, work being done with ICB continues, progress report on bill of costs.
  • Update on Force Control Room recruitment. Vacancy rates currently – Radio operators 6 posts, Call takers 2, Crime Bureau has zero vacancies. This is the lowest vacancy rate in FCR in about five years, but challenges remain due to growing call volumes and applicants failing vetting.
  • Highways and Roads Policing fleet management arrangements.
  • Update on discussions with Integrated Care Board leadership on police officers time spent dealing with Mental Health jobs and handover times in hospital. I am pleased to see some movement is taking place.


  • Police Hub in Bossard House: plans for community team to fully move out of fire station and into Bossard House in Leighton Buzzard. Ongoing work with Central Bedfordshire Council (Landlords), to enhance security for PCs and PCSOs. Response unit already make use of building as touch point.
  • My upcoming visit to National Crime Agency and future visit to our Tri-Force Major Crime teams. The latter are responsible for dealing with some of the most complex murder cases and other investigations which require significant capabilities.
  • Note sharing on Home Office Finding Formula Review, Op. Costello and briefings to local MPs on 2023/24 budget. All have been sighted through my office on current financial situation.
  • Very good conversation about newly created File Quality team and impact on case files to Crown Prosecution Service. I raised this issue a year ago and thanks to force leadership a team was established to help drive improvements. In Oct. 2021 Bedfordshire Police was ranked 42nd out 43 forces at first triage by CPS. Since team created, this has improved to 25th out 43 forces as of Dec. 2022. Bedfordshire would have been 1st nationally with just EIGHT passed case files.
  • Over same period, DG6 compliance has seen Bedfordshire Police improved from 31% to 60% (11th nationally). These are much improved outcomes for victims. Work is ongoing to improve compliance.
  • Discussion on continued work of Professional Standards Department, and force focus on maintaining code of ethics in policing. Good pipeline of new recruits and expectations for newly created Student Hub in supporting retention of new recruits.
  • Update on improvements being made in force control, numbers of new call-handler recruits commencing training on 6 February, focus on improving public contact via 101, 999 and online platforms.
  • Discussion on some road safety initiatives and what is being done to clamp down on dangerous driving in Bedfordshire, also discussion around some public concerns about crime investigations which are being looked at.
  • Our catch up closed with me asking him how he is enjoying and settling into his new role as Chief Constable, my full support for him and his team, and readiness to support where I can. He is settling in very well and bearing the weight of responsibility very capably. I agree.
1) VETTING: Increased budget and recruitment into HR in 2022/23. Since May 2021, seven have failed vetting, some of whom left Bedfordshire Police thereafter while others moved to roles that required lower level of vetting threshold. I will be publishing a more comprehensive report in response to my written questions to the CC on re-vetting.
2) HOMICIDES: There have been four suspected homicides (murders) so far in 2023. These are being investigated with suspects arrested. Likely impact on crime figures compared to previous year was discussed, despite bucking the trend of rising homicide rates in England and Wales in previous years.
3) POLICE CONSTABLE VACANCIES IN COMMUNITY POLICING: 67 PC allocation, but 56 in post. This number fluctuates from month to month due to promotions, retirements, illness/injury, resignations etc. 56 now being increased by 8 (officers from Community Enforcement Team). 10 additional officers to be added to 67 for 2023/24. I will keep on top of this to ensure the numbers are filled as priority areas, and that the officers are allowed to remain dedicated to visible, proactive, problem solving policing.
4) RETENTION: Average attrition levels (number leaving the force) remain at approx. 11% mainly from cohort of new officers, but not exclusively. Investment in new Student Hub providing better support and tutoring for the 414 student officers (BP has one of the highest ratios of student officers in E&W due to a healthy recruitment). The CC anticipates this and the closer monitoring of staff journeys through the force will have a positive impact on retention.
There is ongoing work on support through South East allowance payments, direct engagement between senior leadership and officers, as well as Sargeants, Inspector and Chief Inspectors.
5) LEADERSHIP TEAM: discussions were had on recruitment of Deputy Chief Constable, and potential changes within the force leadership roles.
(The above does not cover everything that was discussed due to sensitive nature of some topics)


25th April 2023

20th March 2023

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