Bedfordshire PCC says she’ll leave cash for policing projects

(l-r) PCC, Kathryn Holloway and current DCC, Garry Forsyth.
(l-r) PCC, Kathryn Holloway and Bedfordshire Police's Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth.

A £300,000 funding package will be available to the next Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure some continuity of services.

The county’s PCC Kathryn Holloway has promised to leave the sum to commission policing projects, after her own experience when she took over the role.

Having inherited a position from her predecessor Olly Martins where virtually all the money had been spent, she criticised his responsibility over the issue.

The PCC confirmed the monetary decision at a meeting of Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Panel amid reports there were moves to replace her as a candidate at the next PCC ballot.

Read: Bedfordshire’s PCC faces uncertain future

“When I was standing to come into this role I was very critical of my predecessor because money was haemorrhaging out of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC),” she said.

“It was absolutely obvious there was an attempt to spend every penny of the commissioning fund.

“I think that is precipient in advance of an election, whoever thinks they are going to win it.

“And, therefore, £300,000 is going to be retained for after the election whatever happens at that poll.”

The funding will be accessible to a potential successor if the PCC does not stand or loses at the ballot box, or for her to spend if she wins a second term.

“The PCC has given her direction for the commissioning process which means we can go out earlier this year,” said her chief-of-staff Clare Kelly.

“This is fantastic because we can keep away from purdah, ahead of the elections next year, and make provisions earlier within the financial year.”

The OPCC will be seeking bids on domestic abuse and early intervention for young people “with a focus on causality of crime, such as drugs”, according to a report to the panel.

“The commissioner is looking for multiple bids of up to £15,000 per project, where the bid is either co-funded, or jointly bid for with other organisations,” said the report.

“It’s for local community members, community groups and councils to inform the OPCC of relevant hot spots where they would like intervention activity to take place.

“And it’s for an organisation or group to bid to be the supplier of the intervention.

“For domestic abuse, bids need to be for male and female victims and Pan Bedfordshire,” the report added.

“The commissioner is looking for co-funded bids and joint working.”

Areas where the OPCC will be issuing continuous funding include modern day slavery, restorative justice, child sexual exploitation, mental health service and vicims of sexual assault offences, as well as counselling services.

Words: Local Democracy Reporter Euan Duncan

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