Monthly column: Ignore the political spin our force now has the highest solve rates

Police on the beat
Image: Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock

Using out-of-date information to judge the performance of Bedfordshire Police is akin to me using data from 2020 to judge Bedford Borough’s performance on planning applications. It was one of the worst in the country that year.

I assume much has improved since then and commend the council officers for their work in making this happen.

However, it has been deeply regrettable to see a rehash of an old national press release being used by the Liberal Democrats in assessing Bedfordshire Police’s performance on burglaries.

They claim this is based on Home Office figures… from over six months ago.

Now here’s some breaking news. A lot happens in a week with crime data, let alone a month. Now just imagine what can happen in six months.

So why do some political parties decide to use out-of-date information, when more up-to-date ones are available? There are three reasons.

Firstly, because there is an election coming up. Secondly, Bedfordshire Police has made significant improvements since then.

Thirdly, by comparing crime figures after covid lockdown with crime figures during lockdown, it will mostly look worse.

I welcome scrutiny and transparency. I am held to task every six weeks by a Police and Crime Panel made up of Councillors from all three political parties and some apolitical members of the public.

Three of the Panel members are from Bedford Borough, one from each political party. My concern is not about being held accountable, it is about doing so with misleading data.

The facts are that as Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, though elected, I have never politicised my role.

I have sought to work with each of our local authorities irrespective of political makeup, and ensured that all my decisions are based on what will best keep our communities safer. I will continue to do this.

In the meantime, should the Liberal Democrats or candidate want to know the current facts about domestic burglaries in Bedfordshire, it has been falling over the last few years, and has continued to fall.

In fact, the latest data shows our force now has the highest solve rates for domestic burglaries in England and Wales; but there is definitely more I want the force to be better at. I continue to work with the Chief Constable to achieve these.

In the meantime, if everything must be politicised because of an election, at least candidates could refrain from using outdated statistics.

This is a monthly guest column provided by Festus Akinbusoye,
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner (Conservative).
It is published unedited and does not reflect
the views of the Bedford Independent.

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