Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, and Chief Constable Garry Forsyth are marking a turnaround in the assessment of the force by policing watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services Image:Bedfordshire Police

Bedfordshire Police given an overall grade of ‘Good’ for police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, and Chief Constable Garry Forsyth are marking a turnaround in the assessment of the force by the policing watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

The watchdog has given Bedfordshire Police an overall grade of ‘Good’ for police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy. This, says the Force, shows that HMICFRS has acknowledged the pace of improvement and quality of delivery in a force which it had graded as ‘Inadequate’ in 2016. Bedfordshire Police was the only force in England and Wales to receive this grade at that time.

Commissioner Kathryn Holloway said:

“I’m absolutely delighted, of course, that Bedfordshire Police has been recognised for the progress and continuous improvement that’s been delivered by a genuine partnership between the OPCC [Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner], chief constables and every single officer and member of staff working together shoulder-to-shoulder to deliver strong service to the public, especially given the small size of the force compared with the very serious crime challenges it faces.”

The PCC said that she never accepted that the ‘Inadequate’ grade, which focused on a lack of Community Policing in particular, was a fair assessment. She added that at the time her former Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, was delivering on her Police and Crime Plan, and that the Force was already in the process of returning Neighbourhood Policing in Community Hubs right across the county at the time.

“One difference now, of course, is that Bedfordshire Police can supply proof to the watchdog of what those community teams have achieved in terms of problem-solving to address the type of lower level crime issues that affect people so much, from drug use to anti-social behaviour and street drinking to homelessness, with this approach being built into crime prevention.”

HMICFRS Inspectors carried out its latest ‘PEEL’ assessment in July last year. The assessment covers all of Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy in a new integrated inspection. This is instead of the previous single subject inspections and which grades all 43 forces in England and Wales.

The inspectors looked at departments across the force. They focused on:

  • How effectively the Force reduces crime and keeps people safe
  • How efficiently the force operates and how sustainable its services are
  • How legitimately it treats the public and its workforce

Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said:

“This is fabulous news and is testament to all of the hard work of our officers and staff. The report describes Bedfordshire Police as ‘an ambitious force with a positive culture’ and I’m delighted that it particularly praised our work around identifying and helping vulnerable people – recognising our dedication to protecting people and keeping them safe.

“My predecessor Jon Boutcher should take a huge amount of credit for leading the Force during this time – and I would also like to thank our communities and partners for their ongoing support.”

The only area of the report that inspectors deemed to ‘Require Improvement’ was future planning.

Commissioner Holloway said:

“The fact that inspectors found the future planning aspect to be an area to be addressed is entirely understandable given the current police funding formula which leaves Bedfordshire Police still under-resourced to deal with the complex crime it faces on a daily basis.”