Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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 “If we’re in, we’re open” is the promise from Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, as police officers return to Flitwick in two strengthened Public Protection teams moving into the police station which has been unused for well over a year.

The PCC has overseen the move of the Missing Persons and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Units from their current base at Kempston Police Headquarters to the Flitwick Police Station. Officers working from the station will man it between 8am and 9pm.

“Bedfordshire Police has been criticised locally for having a brand new but empty “ghost station” for around 18 months before I became PCC,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“The beauty of basing the Missing Persons and Child Sexual Exploitation Teams in Flitwick means a visible policing presence will come to the town from the beginning to the end of the working day and beyond.

“The Chief Constable and I have a clear policy that if we’re in, we’re open. While obviously the public should call 999 in a life threatening emergency and 101 for other crime concerns, the office will be a perfect place for the public to report their worries about children who they fear may be at risk of sexual exploitation, and we will not discourage them from passing on other crime intelligence of course.”

The newly-relocated Missing Persons team will see an increase in from 4 Missing Persons Coordinators to 16 Police Constables and an additional Detective Sergeant as well as the existing DS in the team.  The Child Sexual Exploitation Team will see an increase to two Detective Sergeants – there is currently only one – and the team of three Detective Constables will be joined by 7 more, working alongside a Police CSE Partnership Co-ordinator. This represents a significant increase in resources to protect the most vulnerable.

Detective Chief Inspector Liz Mead from the Force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We are pleased that the location is middle of the County and can service the whole of Bedfordshire with the ease of road and rail links to the location.  In addition, we will welcome our uniformed colleagues to use this location as a drop in centre where there will be IT and facilities; this will provide a good working relationship with the Team and enable us to share intelligence and information with officers in the community and on patrol in the area about missing and absent people.”

The Commissioner continued: “Bedfordshire Police are making significant extra resources available to help the most vulnerable in our county – children who are being preyed on by those who want to exploit them for their own sexual gratification and tracing those who have gone missing, many of whose families are frantic with worry.”

“In addition, having lived nearby in Ampthill, I know everyone living in the area, including nearby Flitwick, Clophill and Maulden will be delighted to see a daily police presence back on their doorstep.”

“The Bedfordshire Police sign had been taken down but I can reassure everyone that it’s going to be back on the building with officers inside!” she said.