Bedfordshire PCC stays in ‘caretaker’ role after coronavirus postpones elections

Caretaker PCC, Kathryn Holloway
PCC Kathryn Holloway

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has announced that she will stay as the county’s PCC for a further year.

The announcement was made after elections to select her successor were suspended for 12 months due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

PCC Holloway has said she will continue as Caretaker PCC since there will be no democratic mandate for any PCC after 7 May, when elections were due to have taken place.

She made the announcement yesterday (Thursday) as she released what had been intended as an End of Term Report to detail the transformation of the Force which she has presided over since becoming its PCC in May 2016

She said, “I do not think that anyone could claim that I have sat on my hands over the last four years and I’m awaiting a second Special Grant any day, as promised in writing by both the last and current Policing Ministers.

“I had intended to step down after a series of achievements of which I am more proud than any in my 38 year career.

“When the postponement of the election was announced, without any consultation, I was not prepared to be bounced into a decision over staying or going which is why I have waited until now, having properly considered the implications.

“I do not have a full time Deputy PCC and my excellent unpaid volunteer Deputy, Justine Currell, has a full time national role in relation to Human Trafficking.

“I do not believe that an unelected member of my staff, however talented, and certainly no external candidate, would be an appropriate replacement as I believe in democracy and at least I have been elected by the people of this county.

“I have, therefore, decided that there is no realistic alternative but for me to abandon the new professional engagements that I had been in the process of arranging and to become a Caretaker PCC.

“No Commissioner will have a democratic mandate after May 7 so, coronavirus permitting, I trust they will do as I will and continue with the essential business of governance and public reassurance in these circumstances but it would be quite wrong to introduce any major change that should be approved via the ballot box.

“I have consulted the politically independent Chair of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel who hold me to account, Paul Cain. He tells me he is wholly in favour of my decision and the reasons I am giving for it.

“I am being required to serve as PCC because of the pandemic and I have no intention of pretending that it is not taking place and that alternate arrangements to those that are the norm are now required for this year.

This does not mean, of course, that my office and I will not continue to deliver practical, common sense benefits to and on behalf of policing to the people of Bedfordshire.”

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