Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel will be chaired for a further year by Conservative Central Bedfordshire councillor Ian Dalgarno.

The Arlesey ward councillor was re-elected to lead the panel at an informal meeting to welcome the county’s new Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye.

Mr Akinbusoye was chosen to replace departing PCC Kathryn Holloway at last month’s local elections.

Councillor Dalgarno was elected unopposed for a second term, having taken over from Independent panel member Paul Cain 12 months ago.

Former Central Bedfordshire councillor Paul Downing was elected unopposed as the panel’s vice-chairman. He served on the local authority for four years, but opted not to stand again in 2019.

Mr Downing chairs Ampthill community safety group and is a director of Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire.

As well as hearing from Mr Akinbusoye for the first time, the panel received the final annual report of his predecessor covering her fifth year as PCC.

As Ms Holloway said in the report: “I had expected to stand down voluntarily at the end of my allotted four-year term as Bedfordshire PCC.

But the government postponed the election until May 2021. I remained in post for a fifth year, as I could not in all conscience desert my team, the public, Bedfordshire Police and victims of crime at a time of national emergency.

I arguably ended up being the right person, in the right job, at the right time, as the Cabinet Office’s emergency planning college was a previous client for eight years before I became your PCC.

I’d also spent 17 years as a consultant specialising in crisis management, particularly in relation to mass fatality events.

Throughout my term in Bedfordshire, I’ve been the civil contingencies portfolio lead for all 43 forces in England and Wales for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

During the pandemic, I’ve done two jobs in effect, in Bedfordshire as PCC and nationally by upholding the interests of the whole police service in relation to fast-changing Covid-19 regulations and enforcement.”

Ms Holloway also referred to “one of the most important projects to me of my entire term” in her final annual report.

Following the death of George Floyd in America and the emphasis this placed on the relationship between our Black residents and policing, I dedicated 100 hours to compiling a report of the same name,” she explained.

This involved hearing in person from as many of Bedfordshire’s Black residents as possible, from teenagers to those in their eighties, between July 2020 and February 2021.

The results of the experiences my interviewees described and their recommendations accompany this report and are intended to bring about positive introductions at Bedfordshire Police, a force in which my two Chief Constables and I have built record diversity.

We have the joint ambition that this report will help to create positive change across the wider police service and stronger relationships of confidence and trust in all the communities that we all serve, without exception.

It has been a pleasure to serve you as your PCC and, as I move on, it’s my intention to continue to work in the interests of Bedfordshire Police and those of the police service at national level, if given the opportunity to do so.”