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PCC PUBLISHES PUBLIC RESPONSE TO HER POLICE AND CRIME PLAN
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway is publishing the highlights of her first survey in office, after she asked members of the public for their views on her Police and Crime Plan and policing in the county.

Results showed that out of the eight priorities laid out in her Plan, the public’s favourites were ‘Ensuring that the police are available when we need them most’ and more visible community policing. “These two are absolutely linked as the public need to be able to see their police force and to talk to us,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“The really good news is that the public response clearly shows that visible community policing is their priority, as well as mine, and proves that I did get it right when making this the immediate concern for Bedfordshire Police.

“That is why I have been touring the county in monthly public meetings to give information on the brand new Constables and supporting officers coming into post as new Community Hubs of officers, supported by Specials with full policing powers, in each major town. So far Bedfordshire Police has committed to these new, more visible, teams in Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Bedford and Biggleswade and we’ve met the residents of these towns to also tell them about the invisible detective work going on in their areas to drive down crime too,” said the Commissioner.

As the county’s third largest town, Leighton Buzzard was the first to be promised eight additional officers, followed by Luton which will receive two Inspectors, four Sergeants, fifteen Police Constables and 20 PCSOs. Bedford will receive two Inspectors (one urban and one rural), one Sergeant, 11 Police Constables and seven PCSOs, while Biggleswade is set to receive one Sergeant, four police constables and four PCSOs.

 “We haven’t stopped there. I will be unveiling new Community Policing plans for Dunstable next month and Houghton Regis and Ampthill in the coming months,” said the Commissioner, whose next public meeting will take place in Dunstable on 8 November at Grove House on the High Street.

Almost 60% of those surveyed said they felt “safe” or “very safe” in the areas they live in, with only 2.65% of people saying they felt “very unsafe.”
“The other truly significant finding which shows that my second pledge to rebuild confidence in Bedfordshire Police is being delivered is that 60% of the county’s residents tell me they now feel safe or very safe.

“ At the last two public meetings I heard the same message, even where there is low-level crime and the sort of anti-social behaviour that blights lives, that people are reporting more incidents to the Force because they have a renewed confidence that we are going to respond and do something about it and I know that our 101 service is working, despite rumours, because I rang it last Saturday to intervene to protect a jeweller in Bedford who was being treated aggressively by a street drinker and got a call handler on the line virtually immediately – and no, they didn’t know it was me calling!” she said.

The majority of respondents (78%) felt that burglary affected their community more frequently than any other crime, with hate crime, stalking and harassment being less of an issue.

“Certain communities can be particularly vulnerable to burglary which is why we’re planning roadshows in the Luton area around Asian gold, worn during weddings and festivals, when faith festivals are approaching. We’ll also be giving targeted advice to keep homes safe in the run up to Christmas. The Force also operates Op Cocoon to work with the houses immediately around those which have been burgled previously to improve security across the board and, where vulnerable people are concerned, the Bobby Van scheme can install home security measures absolutely free of charge, as they have in 22,000 Bedfordshire homes,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The Bedfordshire PCC was the first of the 41 PCCs in England and Wales to publish her plan for the policing of the county and the way its £100m budget is spent, and posted the plan online within five weeks of coming into office on May 12th.

The plan can be viewed online at http://www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/police-and-crime-plan-beds-pcc