Ahead of the Police and Crime Commissioner election on Thursday 6 May, the Bedford Independent has spoken to each of the candidates to find out their plans for policing across the county.
We will be publishing our interviews with each of the candidates in alphabetical order.
Cllr Patrick Hamill (Independent)
Patrick Hamill, 67, lives in Houghton Regis and serves on Central Bedford Council as an Independent councillor.
He is passionate about local issues and has successfully campaigned for the first re-opened bank in the country and the reopening of a community club.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Bedfordshire Police in 2021?
The biggest issues are Police Officer numbers and retaining experienced officers. Gaining the trust of the public.
Bedfordshire Police is funded as a rural force, despite urban centres including Luton and Bedford, plus an airport and high levels of organised crime. How will you address the government’s funding of the force?
Negotiations need to take place ASAP with the Home Secretary. We cannot stop rising crime if the funds are not provided to tackle all crimes. I will not stop until the target of officers required is met.
Violet youth crime, gang culture and county lines drug dealing are all prevalent in Bedfordshire. What do you propose to do to tackle these issues among the county’s young people?
I will have to be briefed on what Beds Police and their partners already are doing and how I can add to successes.
What can you say to Bedford residents who have seen a rise in anti-social behaviour, petty crime and thefts in their area and feel they are being ignored by the police?
I want a nil tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour having suffered years of this type of crime myself.
It can make the victims ill and frightened for years and I will work on a system that will hopefully speed the process up, by dealing with these families effectively.
The diversity in this year’s PCC candidate options is clearly indicative of efforts to better represent BAME communities across Bedfordshire. But how will you address internal issues within Bedfordshire Police where systemic racism may exist, whilst also creating better relationships between police officers and local BAME communities?
All communities should be treated the same under the law and where this falls down I will ensure it is tackled.
What three words sum up Bedford Borough to you?
Vibrant Diverse Town.
Tomorrow we will publish our interview with Labour candidate David Michael, MBE.
How to vote in the PCC elections
The Police and Crime Commissioner elections take place on Thursday 6 May. You can find out where your polling station is by entering your postcode here.
The ballot paper will list the PCC candidates, with two columns for marking your first choice and second choice.
In the second column, you can mark a cross next to the candidate who is your second choice. You don’t have to mark a second choice.