Bedfordshire’s new top cop promises to make county safer for all

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Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst
Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst

Bedfordshire Police’s new chief constable said his vision is to make the county a safe place for all its communities.

During the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel’s Chief Constable Confirmation Hearing on Monday (12 December) the police and crime commissioner’s preferred candidate set out his vision for Bedfordshire Police

The candidate, acting chief constable Trevor Rodenhurst, said his vision was to: “Deliver a high quality policing service that consistently provides a safe place for all communities of Bedfordshire, is tough on crime, and is an employer of choice for all people, and in doing so we will be innovative, victim-focused and inclusive.

“A safe place for me is safe to walk around the streets of Bedfordshire, but it is also safe to be in your own home and for our children to be safe in an online world.

“Tough on crime, that has certain connotations with some communities that this might involve some sort of notion of disproportionate use of police powers, it is not that,” he said.

“It is the fact that we do have some challenges with crime and most things are going in the right direction.

“The reason I make that statement is those 400 student [officers] are on the one hand right here and right now, they are a challenge to get them operationally where they need to be,” he said.

Unanimous support

Members of the panel unanimously supported the recommendation of Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye to appoint Mr Rodenhurst today (14 December).

Mr Akinbusoye added: “I am delighted that members of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel have voted to support my recommendation of Trevor Rodenhurst as our new Chief Constable.

“Bedfordshire Police has been on a journey, from being rated as one of the poorest performing forces a few years ago, to now being ranked among the best this year by His Majesty’s Inspectorate. Trevor has been an integral part of this turnaround, and despite the longstanding challenges that lay ahead, he is the right leader the force needs right now.

“I look forward to working with, and supporting, our newly appointed Chief Constable in our united focus on cutting crime, preventing harm and supporting victims of crime in both our urban, rural and market towns across the county.”

During his panel hearing, the then-acting chief constable told the Panel that in January the force’s officers will include 400 student police officers.

“They are the future, and when they become operationally deployable we will have an increased deployable asset,” he said.

“So you would expect there to be a tougher approach by Bedfordshire Police on crime,” he said.

“My background is I’m a career detective, I’ve spent a lot of my career focusing on challenging crime problems, and I would want us to be very, very tough on that.

“And lastly I want us to be representative of the community in terms of people we attract into the service and also the people that flourish within it.

“So that’s a summary of my vision and there’s a number of areas of focus that I will have to deliver on that.

“One is our people and one is performance, particularly the system performance with our partners.

“We can’t deliver a public service for Bedfordshire as a single agency, we need to work together.

“That includes some system productivity issues, which means for me the right care for the right people, and the right organisation for the right people in the right circumstances,” he said.

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye

Speaking of his appointment, the new Chief Constable added: “I’m really pleased to have been given the backing of the Police and Crime Panel who supported my vision of how I want to lead this fantastic force and continue to improve the service we provide to the people of Bedfordshire, making it a safe place for everyone.

“I’m a great believer in the strength of collective effort so will be looking to build on the excellent relationships we have with our three local authorities, health and blue light services.

“There is much more we can do as a partnership and I’m keen to continue this Team Bedfordshire approach, which includes working closely with all our communities to problem solve together and be better at preventing crime.”

by John Guinn, Local Democracy Service,
and Paul Hutchinson for the Bedford Independent