Residents in Bedfordshire are being invited to a public meeting with Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins and two senior police officers to address local policing concerns.
Commissioner Martins will be joined at St Vincent’s Social Centre in Houghton Regis at 7pm on Thursday (25 February) by Senior Local Policing Command Officers.
Olly Martins said, “I have been picking up worries about policing in the Houghton Regis area for some months now, face-to-face from residents, from Town and Central Beds councillors and on social media.
“Some of the concern relates to changes in the processes being implemented as part of the new force operating model. The meeting will provide an opportunity to reassure residents about the new structure and how it is helping to deliver improvements, such as better police emergency response times and a 40% reduction in burglary in Houghton Regis in the last 12 months. Also more regular Police Officers are to be recruited over the coming months which will help improve the visibility of the local policing team.
“But there is no doubt that even with this recruitment there will still be way too few police in the county because of our chronic underfunding. In fact the Chief Constable says we would need at least 300 extra officers to put us on a par with forces facing comparable policing challenges to Bedfordshire”.
Mr Martins says the key to keeping Houghton Regis and other areas safe even with the overstretched ‘thin blue line’ we have is for communities and their police to work closely together. “I hope this meeting will prove to be the catalyst for forging the strongest possible partnership for the future” he said. “I’m not expecting the public to do the job of the police but it is important that the resources we have are used as effectively as possible. This means residents helping to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the police. The ongoing Operation Meteor against dangerous anti-social off road bikes shows how effective this alliance can be. There have been 340 emails from the public which have already led to a series of arrests and 12 bikes being seized, and there’s more to come.”
Houghton Regis Town Council say that it is looking forward to seeing this initiative roll out in the area and will be working with the Police to support it.
Anyone wishing to put questions forward in advance of the meeting should contact the Commissioner’s office on 01234 842064 or by email PoliceandCrime.Commissioner@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk