Bedfordshire’s former police and crime commissioner has said “how quickly they forget” when responding to comments made by her successor.
The current PCC, Festus Akinbusoye, was asked if all the policies and actions carried out by his office were ‘his’.
An example given to him was the announcement that he had ‘won’ funding, despite the application being submitted before he was elected.
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.”
He later added that his biggest mistake in his first year was sticking to what his predecessor did, even if he “could do better”.
His predecessor, Kathryn Holloway, said: “There has actually been progress which related specifically to my own term as PCC, which ended in May last year when I stepped down voluntarily,” she said.
“The latest Special Grant of over £7m over two years to tackle Serious Organised Crime arose entirely from the last bid submitted and edited by me on behalf of Bedfordshire Police, for example.
“The VERU funding is a continuation of the monies won by me for early intervention with young people to deter them from knife carrying and gang involvement and the same is true of most continuing Domestic Violence funding where my office and former Chief of Staff were concerned, having submitted the arguments for earlier successful bids to the Home Office.
“I have been deeply disappointed that the personal achievement of a Community Hub of officers, combined with a public enquiries desk and police presence in Lime Street, Bedford, have been undone.
“Which were elements of improvement that the police watchdog had found so important in removing the force from its special measures programme, the Policing Performance Oversight Group, and in moving it from a unique grading of ‘inadequate’ to one of ‘good’ across the board during my term.
“I would also like to understand the benefits for the reworking of the victim support service I introduced – a call centre of specialists called Signpost – which had well over 90 per cent victim satisfaction, which is now no longer based at the heart of Bedfordshire Police HQ, but at a distance from it in Lime Street instead and has also been renamed.
“I will not ignore the new PCC’s achievements however and commend his focus on driving down absenteeism from school, as truancy can be the beginning of a descent into crime.
“If this is achieved sensitively in conjunction with schools and parents where children with special needs are concerned of course,” she added.
by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter