A £4.3m funding bid to support Bedfordshire Police’s Boson team has been submitted by the departing Police and Crime Commissioner.
Boson was introduced in Luton in 2012 to deal with gun and gang crime, and also targets serious youth violence and associated criminality, according to the county force.
Officers take the lead on investigating violent incidents and proactively targeting offenders through enforcement activity, such as warrants and patrols.
PCC Kathryn Holloway told a Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel meeting a fourth consecutive special grant for Bedfordshire Police of £2.1m contributes towards “a once in a generation crackdown on serious organised crime”.
This is directed at “individuals who were sophisticated in their attempts to evade police detection”, she said.
“There was nothing lax about failing to know who these people are. We know who you are now.
“We’re coming after you and I have the money to help Bedfordshire Police do it, the £2.1m.
“That’s from this year. I was encouraged to put in a special grant bid for this financial year, even when we were in the dying days of it.
“And we’ve encouraging sounds coming from the Home Office about the next two years.
“When the crime and policing minister Kit Malthouse visited us he issued that challenge: ‘Why can’t you go after them all?’
“He was extremely impressed too by the Boson team, our specialist gun, gang and knife crime unit, which was doubled for the north and south of the county with the previous three special grants.
“I’ve a bid in for almost £4.3m for Boson for another special grant this year.
“We’ve achieved so much,” she added. “Let’s not stop now. I’m hoping before I walk out of the door of Bedfordshire Police to have news on that.”
The PCC explained her contribution to the revamp of four areas for officer wellbeing and victim support.
One of them “is a breathing space for Luton, where our officers and force control room staff can go just a few moments out when they’ve been involved in particularly traumatic events” she said.
“Next door we’ve created one for the wellbeing officer based in Luton, so they can have counselling sessions there.
“It’s now a perfectly refurbished area with a refreshments kitchen and two achieving best evidence suites.
“A similar space is well used at Kempston headquarters. We’re creating the same kind of wellbeing officer at Bedford.
“If we lose officers from duty or from the profession we’re missing out on that experience and on having visible police officers in communities.
“They’re subject to the sorts of trauma and distress situations which normal members of the public simply aren’t.”
A refurbished base with a kitchen and rest area has been created at Biggleswade police station for the first time in 30 years, according to the PCC.
“This isn’t wasted money,” she warned. “This is an investment in our people. Ultimately it’s an investment in keeping people fit and well to serve the residents of Bedfordshire.
“I’ve gone as far and as fast as I can to improve the areas which are most tired, whether it’s in Luton, at HQ, or in Biggleswade, or in Dunstable.”
by Euan Duncan
Local Democracy Reporter