Bedfordshire PCC Kathryn Holloway agrees a £2 per month increase in the police share of council tax with the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel Image: Bedfordshire PCC

The majority of the new officers will be replacements and not additions to force numbers

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Kathryn Holloway, has announced that she is to back recruitment of up to 400 new Police Constables.

The first year will see 160 new recruits. However, 100 of them will be replacing those leaving the force. Some of the remaining 60 officers will be used to double the number of PCs in Community Policing.

The remaining 240 will be recruited over the following two years, with an estimated 160 replacing those leaving Beds Police.

The recruitment is the result of a £2 per month (Band D) increase in the police share of council tax which was approved by the county’s Police and Crime Panel last night (5 February 2019).

Speaking at yesterday’s (5 February 2019) Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel meeting, Commissioner Holloway said:

“Every single community, everywhere I go in the county, wants to see more officers in communities and that is also what I have agreed with the Force, with this very significant uplift in Community Hub officers as it has been imperative to me that people get a change that is palatable to them if having to pay an extra £2 per month.”

New Neighbourhood Intervention Team

As well as the extra officers in Community Policing, Bedfordshire Police will be creating a Neighbourhood Intervention Team. The team consisting of a sergeant and nine PCs will move from area to area as trouble shooters.

This follows the success of Operation Hilton, which tackled drug dealing in Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard, in early autumn 2018. The problem of Op Hilton was that it had to be delivered primarily on overtime. An expense Bedfordshire Police couldn’t afford every time.

The PCC said:

“The beauty of this proposal is that, as the Force is aware of a pernicious problem in one of our towns or villages, the Neighbourhood Intervention Team can move in to target it and produce similar results as its core, day to day, purpose.”

Panel Chair, Paul Cain, spoke of his disappointment that so few Police and Crime Panel members attended the vital annual budget-setting meeting as, without three quarters of the Panel being present, the budget and precept rise had to be voted through in any case. Conservative councillors Paul Downing, Peter Hollick and Ian Delgarno all sent apologies. None of Luton’s Labour councillors attended.