Festus Akinbusoye, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Bedfordshire, has welcomed support from the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel to increase the police precept for 2023/24
Panel members from Bedford Borough Council, Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, and the independent members voted to increase the precept that helps to fund Bedfordshire Police with seven members in favour, zero against and one abstentions.
The decision to recommend an increase of £15 per band D property was made by the PCC following a public consultation that took place from 28 December 2021 until 20 January 2022.
The proposal is focused on tackling crime in both urban and rural communities and supporting victims of crime.
With the increase the PCC can secure funding for:
– 10 extra Police Officers (Community Policing Officers – Increase the number of police officers in our community policing teams with the specific aims of providing greater visibility and reassurance especially in our market towns and villages)
– 7 Victim Engagement Officers VEO – (Increase the number of victim engagement officers in the rape and serious sexual offences unit to support the most vulnerable of victims)
– 4 data analysts – (provide dedicated data analysts to ensure that trends and patterns of criminality are picked up early and resources deployed to prevent further crimes)
Also an additional four staff posts have been introduced following recommendations from the Priority Based Budgeting process as well as increasing provision for anticipated annual pay increases. By placing two members of staff into professional standards and two mental health nurses within the control room these actions are again very much linked to the PCCs Police and Crime Plan ambitions.
At last night’s meeting (7 February), the financial challenges that continue to confront policing in Bedfordshire were highlighted and discussed with the Police and Crime Panel and the PCC.
Commenting after the meeting the PCC said: “An important part of my role as Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner is to ensure that Bedfordshire Police has the resources it needs to keep our communities safer, following consultation with residents and our Chief Constable.
“Residents want to see more visible, proactive community policing. They want to see more enforcement activity against those who pose a significant threat to life and property, and they want to be sure that the Chief Constable is doing everything possible to maintain standards in policing.
“I am pleased that the Panel supported my proposal to increase the police precept element of local Council Tax by 28 pence a week, or £15 a year for the average Band D property. My focus now is on ensuring the Chief Constable delivers on these funded commitments in delivering on the public’s policing priorities.”
The Commissioner highlighted that Bedfordshire Police continues to be funded as a rural police force while having policing demands similar to that in much larger urban metropolitan cities.
Councillor Jim Weir, Chairman of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel said: “The panel have the power to veto the PCC’s recommendation to raise the precept, however after the panel had been presented with the papers provided by the PCC, the panel was able to support the PCC following both him and the Interim Chief Finance Officer answering our questions to a high standard.
“The panel is conscious of the current climate; however Bedfordshire Police Force does require the additional funding in order to provide an effective service to the community of Bedfordshire.”
If you would like to watch the recording of the Police and Crime Panel meeting, or find out more information about the panel, click here [https://councillorsupport.bedford.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=561&MId=5986&Ver=4]
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