The Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye has thanked the public and partners for support in the research and development that has contributed towards the Police and Crime Plan for Bedfordshire.
This Plan is due for publication on the 19th August 2021.
The initial research that took place in order to develop ideas to test via survey with the public, included reviews of:
- Police data and existing police plans and risk assessments.
- Community Meetings, both public and Local Authority.
- Support Group Meetings.
- Community Safety plans with the Local Authorities.
- Victim Needs Analysis (including surveys and interviews with service users).
- National direction; Policing Vision 2025/30 and HMICFRS State of Policing.
- Auditor reviews, both local and national.
- Health assessments.
This research has then influenced the design of the topics and areas that were tested through a survey from 5th July to 1st August.
In reviewing the survey of areas already in the plan, the OPCC added additional space for the public to introduce ideas that were not yet covered in the plan. From this, additional areas will now be added to the plan and sent back to partners such as Bedfordshire Police and the Police and Crime Panel before the final sign off later in August.
The survey results showed that where some people would question why the survey would even include support programmes to reduce re-offending or focus on human rights as a question (because they felt strongly it was a given that they should be included), others felt strongly that those areas should not be considered at all. It is this very balance that has to be addressed in the Police and Crime Plan. Public opinion from the research and survey will be worked through alongside the reports and data already mentioned, so the plan can meet the needs of the community.
Some people questioned why a PCC had not written a plan on crime areas alone. This is not for a PCC to do. A PCC must consider:
- Delivery of commissioning duties and enhance partnership working across Victim Care, Criminal Justice and Reducing Re-offending with service users always at the heart of design.
- Community engagement to ensure the voice of the public is appropriately considered in both design and delivery of the police service across the county, promoting and enabling positive interactions that work towards gaining trust and confidence.
- Compliance with transparency duties across policing.
- Holding Bedfordshire Police to account in delivering an efficient and effective policing service, whilst ensuring policing standards are met.
Some asked for a focus on Bedford and Luton and others said too much focus was on Bedford and Luton. Some asked for more attention to towns such as Leighton Buzzard, others asked for more rural locations to be prioritised. In response to this area it is not for the PCC to determine operational policing; that is for Bedfordshire Police. However, in line with sharing the voice of the public to Bedfordshire Police, all of these areas will be shared with the local policing service. This also showed us, that we still have a large need to improve the way we communicate with communities to explain what resource and response they do get and what is available to them.
Some felt when they call in a job, the officers would be travelling from over 30 minutes away which is not the case with the remote working system Bedfordshire Police has. This area also linked to access. As many were trying to use the online reporting systems, areas of improvement were flagged and will be taken for action.
PCC Festus Akinbusoye said “It is essential that the Police and Crime Plan (that will run from 2021 to – 2024) has been reality tested with the communities, individuals and criminal justice partners across Bedfordshire that it is intended to support, so I would like to thank the near 1000 people that took the time to complete the survey and to express my gratitude to the partners for working with my office in the development of the draft plan.
I was pleased to see that so many people agreed on the areas I was suggesting for the Police and Crime Plan, I’d like to also address the additional areas that were raised.
I’ll be changing the way the focus on rural and town policing is written in the plan, so it is clearer to understand. I’ll also be more specific with the focus that I am suggesting for the school partner work. The joined-up approach with schools is vital, and ties in with the early intervention and prevention work that I speak of often.
I know how important it is to make it easier of residents to be able to report crime, and also be able to get updates on reported crime, I am committed to this and will be including improvement measures in the plan. Alongside this, I’ll include information on our work to address how people offering information and intelligence to us and our results being reported back, can be improved.
I’ll be putting even more of a focus on Restorative Justice awareness, including details on how victims can remain in communication with their offender for a restorative approach and the benefits this brings to both sides.
Under the road safety section, I’ll be specific with areas of high concern such as speeding and e-scooters instead of referring to areas that cause injury.
I am committed to improving on communication, so I would like to reassure you that I will be working even closer with Bedfordshire Police to ensure that when staff changes are made, key local partners are informed of those changes.
In response to all of the above, I’ll detail how I will be working with Bedfordshire Police to ensure the correct estates strategy is in place both now and for the next 10 years in response to crime, victim need and population growth across Bedfordshire”.