Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Olly Tells Houghton Regis Town Council He Has to Make Savings

The Police and crime commissioner, Olly Martins last night addressed a meeting of Houghton Regis Town Council for over an hour.

He gave a talk about his role as Bedfordshire's Commissioner, giving those present an idea of his day-to-day work. At one point he referred to acting like a "yo-yo". It is believed this was a reference to attending a meeting in Bedford, travelling to Luton for another meeting, travelling back to Bedford for another, then back home to Luton. He said this was not a good use of his time ordinarily, but had believed it important to attend all the meetings.

The commissioner explained that crime figures were generally going down. 80 police officers were to be recruited just to keep the Bedfordshire force at the level that it needed to be at.

Mr Martins went on to explain how he intended to make savings of £7.5million, on top of the £15million taken out of the police budget since 2010, to meet intended cuts by HM Treasury.

Olly talked through his 5 point plan to tackle the funding gap.
1. There would be more collaboration between adjacent policing authorities.
2. More use would be made of  volunteers.
3. He would seek to increase the amount of council tax levied on local households.
4. He would encourage greater use of Information Technology in the local police force.
5. He would look to reduce the cost of running buildings.

Houghton Regis Town Councillors cross-questioned the Commissioner, imparticular raising concerns about what the closure of Houghton Regis Police Station in Sundon Road might mean for the town.

The Commissioner said that he had consulted widely with the public about his proposals. An official public survey had ended on October 1st.  Mr Martins had not yet had sight of those findings, so was unable to indicate what may or may not be happening.