The Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has won a second Special Grant from the Home Office to fight gang, gun and knife crime.
The £3m grant will fill a hole in the cash-strapped force’s finances and cover the costs of bringing serious youth violence under control.
“I’m of course delighted that the Home Office recognised that Bedfordshire Police required extra assistance and that the Special Grant was absolutely deserved,” said PCC Holloway.
“The extra money last year enabled the Force to double its specialist response to gang, gun and knife crime – known as Op Boson – with a second unit created for the north of the county to mirror that in the south.
“Between them they have been responsible for enforcement leading to more than 150 years in prison terms and knife admissions to our hospitals have finally plateaued.”
Commissioner Holloway had persuaded Government that the rules for Special Grants in policing needed to be changed to allow forces like Bedfordshire Police to qualify, despite previous criteria which meant that such grants only covered spending in the service that lay outside ‘business as usual’ which took place on a single day.
Having done so, PCC Holloway received her first Special Grant last year of £4.571m to cover the unprecedented costs of fighting gang, gun and knife crime in the county over a three year period.
The further £3m will assist with these costs in 2020-21.
Commissioner Holloway pointed to the double benefits that will also arise from this year’s Special Grant, of which the first £2.2m will be paid within the week.
“Without this new Special Grant for £3m, we would not have been able to continue the fight against youth violence at this level.
“We couldn’t have maintained two of these units, however overwhelmingly successful, without a £2m hole in the Bedfordshire Police budget.
“As it is, Op Boson’s successes across the county will continue; some very dangerous people will be put away and drugs gangs will continue to be dismantled and I will prove all that to the Policing Minister Kit Malthouse in an end of year report once we reach the end of March as he needs to know what ‘more’ he gets for ‘more’ investment, when looking back over the first year of Special Grant support.
“Not only that but I will be able to recruit 156 PCs this year – 100 to replace leavers, 20 as I’d promised as brand new posts and 36 more as our share of the national uplift; Covid-19 permitting of course.
“This means that this is now an excellent time to apply to join policing in Bedfordshire as you can put in an application whether or not you are able to travel,” said the Commissioner.