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PCC secures government backing to combat serious organised crime in Bedfordshire

PCC secures government backing to combat serious organised crime in Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire Police is set to receive a continuation of special grant funding recognising the need to combat serious organised crime in the county.PCC and officers at grad ceremony

During his term as Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye has secured additional Special Grant funding awarded by the Home Office to support operations specifically set-up to tackle serious violence in Bedfordshire.

Mr Akinbusoye said: “I welcome the fact that the government are continuing to recognise the unique situation we face in Bedfordshire.

“The Special Grant helps to bridge parts of the funding gap for 2024/25.

“The pressures that the Bedfordshire Police often face in responding to combatting drugs, violence, exploitation, and organised crime present to our villages, market towns, and urban areas is significant.

“The continuation of funding means our specialist teams can continue to disrupt organised crime and county lines activity.

“Whilst the special grant is not a permanent funding arrangement, it is however an acknowledgement of the situation we face in Bedfordshire by the government.”

In another major boost to Bedfordshire Police, PCC Akinbusoye today confirmed that the force is set to have a record 1,470 officers, surpassing its target of 1,455 by the end of March 2024.

He added: “Part of my job as Commissioner is to ensure that our force has the resource it needs to deliver policing objectives, and this is an example of that.”

The force’s Boson and Costello teams have dedicated officers and staff leading the fight against gangs and organised crime, in recognition of the need to effectively tackle the significant threat posed by these issues in the county.

The government funding is split between both operations, which have already seized millions of pounds worth of drugs and taken dozens of firearms off the streets.

Boson leads the response to gangs and gun crime in the county, running patrols in hotspot areas for things like drug dealing and serious youth violence.

Officers from Boson are also heavily involved in partnership safeguarding and protecting young people from violence and exploitation, including chairing the county’s MAGPan and Serious Youth Violence panels.

The unit has taken 339 weapons, including 58 firearms, off the streets, arrested 997 people and secured 776 years in jail terms.

Operation Costello is Bedfordshire Police’s biggest ever operation to tackle serious and organised crime across the county.

It comes after law enforcement cracked the Encrochat communications network used exclusively by criminals. A significant number of people were found to be using this network in Bedfordshire.

Ever since, Costello detectives have been carrying out investigations and taking down organised crime groups involved in multi-million-pound drug operations, as well as raising awareness about the risks posed by cannabis factories and so-called professional enablers.

Operation Costello has made 168 arrests with 56 people convicted and jail terms totalling 352 years. Almost 22 kilos of Class A drugs and 120 kilos of cannabis have been seized, with almost £1million in cash.

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