Bedfordshire PCC reflects on his first year in office

Conservative PCC candidate, Festus Akinbusoye
PCC Festus Akinbusoye

Speaking about his first year in office, Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye, said: “I am really pleased, I’m quite proud of what has been achieved by the team and how responsive the chief constable has been to my vision.

“It is very difficult to be able to explain the amount of work that is involved in this role.

“But when I look at what has been achieved in a very short period of time… I really do feel very proud,” he said.

Not long after he was elected, the PCC was credited with a successful application for funding, even though the paperwork was submitted before he was elected.

Now his first year is over, are all the policies and actions ‘his’, or are we still seeing the outcomes of decisions his predecessor took?

“I think it’s been only me in some ways for some time,” he said.

“From the day I became police and crime commissioner for Bedfordshire the buck stops with me, I can’t point the finger at anyone, as easy as that might be and as convenient as that might be.

“So I’ll say the good and the bad have been all me, well the bad have been all me and the good I let the public decide who was responsible for that.

“I’m really not too fussed about getting the credit, my job is to get things done, make the public aware of what is being done – if it is proper to do so – and let them know what is being achieved in the meantime.

“And what else is coming down the line.

“That’s what I try to do is entirely up to them who they want to give credit for that, ultimately it is the officers and the staff and my team who get the credit,” he said.

PCCs are held to account by police and crime panels, which are made up of councillors and residents.

Last August, the PCC had to apologise for failing to turn up to a panel meeting to discuss his police and crime plan. Was missing this meeting his biggest mistake of his first 12 months?

“No, I don’t think. My biggest mistake was thinking that I had to stick with what my predecessor did, even if I could do better,” he said.

“It took me six months, and I made one or two major decisions and for me that has been transformative.

“In terms of the police and crime panel meeting that I didn’t attend, I could point the finger at individuals or an individual.

“But ultimately I am the police and crime commissioner and I’m responsible for every decision that comes out of this office.

“So I will say that I’ve had to learn that [an} advisors’ job is to advise, and it’s my job to decide. I learnt that very quickly after that meeting.

“If that’s the biggest mistake I’ve made in people’s eyes, I think I’ve done pretty well,” he said.

The previous PCC, Kathryn Holloway has been approached for a comment.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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