Bedfordshire Policing - Diversity in Place, but Funding Needs To Be Fairer

Local MP, Andrew Selous, raised a question in Parliament on 14 June asking for an urgent debate on fairer funding for the police.

"May we have an urgent debate on the Home Office’s very welcome but seriously overdue commitment to move to a fairer funding formula for the police? Back in 2004, damping was brought in, which means that many police forces such as Bedfordshire received millions of pounds less than the national funding formula says they should get. In Bedfordshire, that equates to 90 police officers. May I ask the Leader of the House to convey to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, as well as to the Home Secretary, the real anger on this issue of the people of Bedfordshire at the way their police force is underfunded by this unfair issue of damping?"

Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons, responded promising the Government would "reflect on all evidence" in the next spending review.

Earlier this month, Policing Minister Nick Hurd declared his intention to review the funding of the stretched force as early as next year and in the approaching five-year review of police funding nationwide.

Mr Hurd attended a conference on 7th June at Bedfordshire Police HQ in Kempston, and praised the progress that Bedfordshire Police had shown in increased diversity in policing. He congratulated PCC Kathryn Holloway and Chief Constable Jon Boutcher on their work together to drive forward this improvement.

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway said, “It’s absolutely clear that Nick Hurd fully understands the very significant progress made by Bedfordshire Police in this area and he, quite rightly, points to the fact that no force should ignore the need to recruit across diversity even where, unlike ourselves, there are no significant black, Asian or other minority populations in the force area. This is a wider issue than that, to make sure that we recruit the best of the best from the widest pool and that’s precisely what we are doing here in this county.”

Since December 2016, the Bedfordshire Force has recruited 206 new police officers with up to a third of the intakes from  Black and Minority Ethnicity (BME) backgrounds and is now the third most representative force in the country, following the Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester Police. Some 11% of Bedfordshire Police’s workforce is now from BME communities.

BME Network Chair, Inspector Mike Chand, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Mr Hurd to the annual conference, and we’re pleased he has recognised the work that’s happened at Bedfordshire Police to improve our diversity. We know we need to be more reflective of our communities, and we’re committed to recruiting the very best people to join the force.”