The Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Kathryn Holloway, has sent a firm request to the Government, asking for an emergency fund of £4.571m to fight against the spread of gangs, knife carrying and gun use across Bedfordshire.
The fund will come from the Home Office’s Special Policing Grant fund, which can dish out budget ‘top-ups’ when forces face ‘outside the norm’ financial pressures. Our PCC argues that dealing with and investigating recent crime on our streets, including two separate fatal stabbings in Bedford, is exactly the unprecedented activity that this money is for.
The Commissioner said: “We have seen a 16-year-old stabbed to death on the streets of Bedford on a Sunday this September and seven young people ending up in hospital in Luton on the same evening with knife wounds after a fight involving 14, 15 and 16-year-olds. This week I’ve personally been present when a single weapons amnesty bin was opened at Halsey Road in Bedford which was found to contain four guns, a serrated zombie knife of over two feet in length, a vast Malaysian machete, a ceremonial sword and a selection of machetes, cleavers and kitchen knives, adding up to 109 bladed weapons in total.
“Nobody can tell me that we are not fighting an unprecedented threat and, given the Force’s well-documented financial stresses, I need extra help with the budget to save children’s lives and this is no exaggeration whatsoever.”
Bedfordshire Police have supported the bid for £4.571m by fully detailing in the application the work of the Op. Boson Team, who have led the fight against knife, gun and gang crime across the county for the past two years. If successful, the fund will help reimburse police budgets used to cope with these incidents and pay for future work in dealing with those types of crimes.
An answer is expected in November.