Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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BEDFORDSHIRE PCC WELCOMES FIRST "GOOD" RATING FROM POLICE WATCH DOG

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner - Kathryn Holloway has welcomed a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), rating the Force - she has held to account since taking up the PCC role on May 12, as “good.”

The report assessed Bedfordshire Police’s ‘legitimacy’ - the way it treats the public and its own officers and members of staff,  and has been released in the wake of a series of HMIC reports rating the Force as requiring improvement.

Commenting on the report – Commissioner Holloway said: "As you can imagine I am delighted that the HMIC inspection team considers that Bedfordshire Police can be ranked as good in terms of its legitimacy. Not only that but the inspectors singled out the work I have been doing to increase visible community policing and to meet with local communities throughout the county alongside senior officers to explain what is being delivered in terms of new officers and, less visibly, via undercover detective work in their local areas.”

“The report referred to the first of these public meetings in Leighton Buzzard. This has been followed by others in Luton, Bedford, Biggleswade, Dunstable, and another due to be held today in Houghton Regis, promoting these ‘community policing hubs’ of new officers and supervisors,” added the Commissioner.

The Houghton Regis public meeting on policing is being held this evening (Tuesday 13 December from 6pm), is specifically aimed at informing local residents of the policing plans in Bedfordshire.  This evening will be attended by PCC Holloway, and Deputy Chief Constable Mike Colbourne.  Subjects planned for discussion at the event will include the introduction of a new community hub and additional police officers in the area. 

HMIC also focused on the independent scrutiny of officers’ Body Worn Video by members of the public. This has been introduced by Bedfordshire Police to help build confidence in the Force, particularly in communities which have not had strong links with police. The PCC has involved herself on the panels for the first time as the county’s Commissioner.

Kathryn Holloway continued: "The Inspectors singled out the independent scrutiny which the Force has introduced over both Stop and Search and use of Body Worn Video to give confidence to communities who have not always traditionally trusted police. I have made sure that, as Commissioner, I sit on this review panel, which did not happen before I took over the role of PCC in May.”

Commissioner Holloway also pointed to the concerns HMIC expressed over higher levels of sickness among officers and staff, and of those on light and restricted duties, than in some other Forces and pointed to the work her office and the Chief Constable - Jon Boutcher, are doing to address this and support staff back to work.

“My Police and Crime Plan stressed the critical importance of supporting officers and staff back to full duties with investment in occupational health support. In the past week a new Occupational Health unit has opened at what was Sandy Police Station to help officers and staff from both Bedfordshire and its close working partner Cambridgeshire, and I’m determined this should be about more than offering fresh paint and carpets,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“I am working shoulder to shoulder with the Chief Constable to address this issue and look at the investment and help needed to establish the exact services which are most needed and how best to provide them,” she said.

The report also called on Bedfordshire Police and its partners across the three- force working alliance with Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire to strengthen the effectiveness of the shared backroom Professional Standards Department, which investigates allegations of poor behaviour and corruption.

The Commissioner has tasked her new Chief of Staff - Mark Cooper – who previously was a director of HMIC and has recently been responsible for its requirements of the 43 Forces of England and Wales around legitimacy, with personally supporting the Force in making such improvements.

The PCC concluded: “This is a critical piece of work and should further drive home the culture and ethics the Chief Constable and I both expect to be reflected at all times by those who work for Bedfordshire Police.”

Commissioner Holloway also pointed to the work the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is involved in with the Force, via a new Culture Board established by the Chief Constable, to examine the behaviour and speech of officers to establish consistently high standards.