Bedfordshire Police will see an additional 54 officers in 2020-21, following the latest government announcement on its three-year police recruitment uplift.
However, this is still someway off the 440 officers and 80 detectives that PCC Kathryn Holloway says the county force needs.
The figure for Bedfordshire is part of the first wave of 6,000 new police officers to be recruited nationally, under the plans announced earlier this year to achieve an uplift of 20,000 officers over three years.
The first year target allocated for forces is based upon the existing funding formula for all police forces in England and Wales.
Within Bedfordshire, the 54 officers will be recruited over and above those hired to fill existing vacancies and in addition to the extra 40 officers promised by the increase in the Council Tax precept.
Deputy Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst said, “We hope to recruit officers from all backgrounds and walks of life to serve their neighbourhoods, and of course welcome applicants from further afield or those who want to consider a brand new career.”
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway said: “We had been told to expect around 18 officers so 54 is a significant improvement and reflects the fact that the Home Office is fully aware that Bedfordshire has to be treated as a special case.
“I’ve evidenced the need for 440 officers and 80 detectives in total but the uplift has to start somewhere and I’m grateful for it, of course.”
Ryan Henson, Conservative parliamentary candidate said, “We can be really pleased that we will soon have an extra 54 police officers in Bedfordshire, and I will be working with everyone involved to make sure that Bedford and Kempston gets its fair share.
“Under the Government’s plans, a further 14,000 officers will be recruited over the coming years, and I will be campaigning and meeting with Ministers to make sure that we get the police that we need in our community.
“I know from hours of conversations on the doorstep across Bedford and Kempston that policing and safety are issues people feel most strongly about – me just as much. I have made this clear to Ministers at every opportunity I’ve had, I’m pleased they have listened, and I will keep up the pressure.
There is still a long way to go but today’s announcement is good news for all of us and I will be working to make sure we see the impact of the new officers, as soon as possible.”
MP for Bedford & Kempston, Mohammad Yasin said, “The PCC herself says that she has evidenced a need for 440 officers, and yet the Government has provided just 54.
Any increase in officers is to be welcomed, but it doesn’t make up for the officers that were cut under The Tory austerity programme, where violent crime levels have soared, and is nowhere near enough to address the complex challenges that police in Bedfordshire face every day.”
The force’s current recruitment window has so far seen high interest in people applying to become a police officer. Applications close on 13 October.