Community Policing is ‘top priority’ as team revealed to be eight officers short

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Police on the beat

Community Policing in Bedfordshire is understaffed by eight team members, a meeting heard.

Sharn Basra, assistant chief constable at Bedfordshire Police, told Festus Akinbusoye, Bedfordshire’s PCC, at a recent Delivery & Beating Crime Meeting (Thursday, October 21), that since the last update, the Community Policing team had lost an additional four members of staff.

He said: “The establishment should be 67, we are currently at 59, four down from previously.

“Of these four, two were members of staff who resigned, and the other two have been moved into areas of equal criticality for the force.

“The good news that I can give you, commissioner, is that those eight which will take us up to full establishment have been identified through a recruitment process.”

“Of the remaining seven,” he said: “There are discussions as we speak in terms of arrangements and agreed dates for them to move across.”

The PCC asked: “When do you think we’re going to have all of those in place?”

The ACC replied: “I wouldn’t want to prejudge that because that’s the purpose of the discussions between the chief superintendents.

“Some of them are from a crime function, some of those crime functions do require those resources.”

The PCC said that some teams have a higher vacancy than others, and asked what can be done to plug those gaps.

Garry Forsyth, chief constable, said that he has made it very clear that community policing is his and the PCC’s shared priority in making sure there are the resources to deliver on this “incredibly important function” for the Force.

He said: “Our department is very clear to the team that this is an area where we don’t want to have any abstractions at all if we can avoid it.

“Even with the level of abstraction 59 against 67 it has the lowest level extraction of any of our functions across the force.

“But I am determined that we get this to full establishment and we do our very best to maintain it at that.

“But obviously we can’t account for people resigning from this organisation, you know that we will always have some blips.

“In terms of your particular question about what we can do to plug any short-term gaps as they arise.

“What we’re looking at is identifying where any areas are particularly depleted utilising the resources from the community enforcement team on a short-term period and deflect in to those areas so it provides that augmentation for the period until we can get those resources in their on a more permanent basis.”

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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