A third consecutive Special Policing Grant has been awarded to Bedfordshire Police to support fighting gang, gun and knife crime.
Commenting on the grant, Commissioner Holloway said, “It’s a truly terrible day to be in an Organised Crime Group or violent gang in Bedfordshire.”
The grant will total £2.9m and will be paid to Bedfordshire Police to cover the cost of its Boson unit targeting serious organised crime and serious violence in 2020-21.
Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, visited Bedfordshire Police HQ last week to meet with the PCC and Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth.
He also got to see for himself the drugs, weapons and cash seizures achieved by the Boson team and colleagues in the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit so far this year.
“This new funding is great news for the force,” said Detective Superintendent Duncan Young.
“… [it] will really make a difference in us being able to continue to build on the fantastic work we have done so far in reducing Serious Youth Violence and our fight against gun and gang criminality.
“It was extremely beneficial having the Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse, visit us last week.
“It gave us the opportunity to showcase how we have used previous government funding and all the good work that Boson has achieved over the last two years.”
PCC Holloway added, “It’s entirely fair to say that the Minister, Kit Malthouse, was incredibly impressed by what he saw and rightly tweeted after his visit last Tuesday that Bedfordshire Police is a ‘force on the front foot’ as a result.”
The PCC praised officers and the force’s finance team to create “the most robust argument possible” that Bedfordshire Police needed further financial backing.
This latest Special Grant follows two years of similar exceptional grants to the force to pay for the work of the Operation Boson team, of £4.571m and £3m respectively.
According to the PCC, the two previous Special Policing Grants have collectively helped to drive Serious Youth Violence in Bedfordshire down by approximately 9%.
Other outcomes included almost 500 years in prison terms for offenders.
“Originally, the Special Grants were restricted to paying for events on a single day taking place outside ‘business as usual’ in policing, like a terror attack,” explained the PCC.
“The Home Office has accepted my argument that the costs of dealing with the most serious criminals and the violence meted out to control their crime empires, particularly around drugs, as well as weapon supply, is unprecedented for Bedfordshire Police and is also not ‘business as usual’ for a police force funded as ours is.
“That’s why I’m so delighted that, although the odds were against me in many ways, the right thing is being done and this exceptional work will go on.
Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Garry Forsyth added, “Our Police and Crime Commissioner has been a true champion for the force on these issues and has helped us secure an unprecedented amount of government funding to tackle these issues head-on.
“This newest multi-million pound grant is just the latest in a long line of successes and the results we have been able to achieve with similar funding to date speak for themselves.”
PCC Holloway was due to stand down as Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner after four years in the role in May 2020.
The Covid emergency has meant the PCC elections have been delayed until May 2021.