Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) said he is “concerned” at the number of officers being investigated for sexual misconduct.
But he is “confident” that investigations into officer misconduct have improved.
During yesterday’s Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel (5 December) cllr Basit Mahmood (Labour, Luton Borough Council) said that there was a “worrying” report that 22 sexual misconduct allegations had been made against Bedfordshire Police officers from October 2022 to October 2023.
“By members of the public, but also internally,” he said. “How confident is the commissioner that he has a grip on [officer misconduct]?”
PCC Festus Akinbusoye said: “I am glad that we’ve seen more reports of this variety that you’re talking about, because for me it accurately demonstrates that people have the confidence to actually come out and report things and feel that they’re going to be taken seriously.
“As part of the budget for this year we’ve increased the level of funding and resources that are going to the Professional Standards Department. They have got a massive caseload that they are dealing with.
“So while I am concerned that we have this number of officers being investigated for sexual offences, I’m somewhat reassured that our system appears to be working.
“And there is a scrutiny panel that also oversees that, so scrutinises the work of the Professional Standards Department to make sure that they get things right, unlike what was happening before where a decision is made and no one double checks to look and go, ‘hang on a second, how can you look at this evidence and that officer just gets a warning?’
“So I’m more confident now because we have that community scrutiny panel.”
by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter