‘There are not enough police officers to go around’

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Kathryn Holloway, has said that a lack of funding means the county’s burglary victims need to manage their expectations. They should not expect a police officer to attend immediately if there isn’t an immediate threat to their safety. She explained:

“We run out of officers on our response section who deliver those 999 and 101 responses, every single day and every single night because of the life-threatening crime happening in that single same second around the county.”

Ms Holloway said that Bedfordshire police is not alone in this, but that it is particularly exposed as it is in the lowest quartile for funding nationally and lowest quartile for council tax receipts.

She added that Bedfordshire Police has also had to make savings of over £34 million.

Kathryn Holloway has warned Beds residents that police cannot always attend immediately. Image Bedfordshire PCC Office

“When the Force’s entire income is £105 million that will tell people just how extreme the cuts have been in relation to policing.

“It has been the case for a very long time that Bedfordshire has been disadvantaged around funding. It has been failed by every single government of every single colour of the political spectrum because they failed to sort out the funding formula.”

The Police Funding Formula

The funding formula is based on the volume of crimes taking place within a force’s boundary.

“The problem is that it ranks the theft of a milk bottle directly alongside a murder.

“Where it will be obvious that the theft of a milk bottle is not going to absorb all of the detection, all of the scientific services and all of the house to house enquiries of a murder.”

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A call for help to raise funds

As Home Office is not a protected department, the Treasury also needs to be persuaded. Ms Holloway is calling for help from residents to convince the Treasury to release extra money. She said:

“Get out your pen and paper and write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and make my case for me, or at the very least support it.

“This isn’t a political thing, this is a question of how we get the police this county needs and the public requires.”

You can hear more about the role of the PCC and policing in Bedfordshire in this podcast.