Houghton Regis Town Council Praised for Helping 49% Cut in Anti-Social Behaviour

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has held her first public surgery of the new year for the residents of Houghton Regis, and she announced a dramatic decrease in Anti-Social Behaviour in the town by almost half since this time last year.

The PCC credited the excellent partnership approach the council has taken to working with Bedfordshire Police’s local Community Policing Hub for the 49% fall in such crime. 

Accompanied by the head of the Force's Houghton Regis Community Policing Hub, Insp Craig Gurr, the Commissioner said: “Houghton Regis Town Council shows how every council of its type in the county can achieve results for residents by working more closely in partnership. It holds a monthly Combatting Crime Group with police from the Community Hub and helps pass on crime information and even guides mobile CCTV cameras into the most useful spots in relation to current issues. I’ve singled them out before in my annual reports but the slashing of Anti-Social Behaviour by almost half on last year shows, yet again, that this approach works."

The Commissioner opened her address to the Town Council with other good news, amounting to a return of a further visible police presence in the town.

She explained that Bedfordshire Police’s new Neighbourhood Enforcement Team (NET), comprised of a Sergeant and nine Police Constables is now being based at the former Houghton Regis Police Station and will be at full strength by April 2020. This team is designed to flex around the county as a troubleshooting task force to help stamp out pernicious crime problems emerging at neighbourhood level in support of the local Community Hubs.

Insp Craig Gurr also updated the Houghton Regis Town Council on recent successful policing operations in the town under the title Operation Paxton, which targeted an emerging gang in the town involved in rivalry with another from the Lewsey Farm area of Luton, which has led to individuals now going through the criminal justice process in relation to the firing of a shotgun and two stabbings, plus the successful resettlement of a family out of the county.

Bedfordshire’s new Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) is to be based at Houghton Regis Police Station too. The PCC said, “The VERU is here to co-locate police, local authority, youth offending and partner services working specifically to stamp out Serious Youth Violence and links to Organised Crime Groups around knife and gun use. There are £350,000 worth of grants going out to community groups that have been distributed by the VERU as we want communities themselves to suggest the best solutions for their own young people.”

Commissioner Holloway went on to explain the focus of the £4.571 million Special Grant she achieved from the Home Office last year explaining “The Special Grant helped me support the Chief Constable in literally doubling the response to gang crime in this county through Operation Boson, by creating a second team for the north of the county, to mirror that in the south, which has produced huge measurable results including 200 years of prison terms, when taken together with the outcome of the more recent £1.38m grant for an uplift in policing of Serious Youth Violence in Bedfordshire.

“We are finally seeing a plateauing off of knife crime admissions to our two A&E departments; in Luton and in Bedford, although any singe admission is one too many."

Community Inspector Craig Gurr stated “The Community Team have always had an excellent working relationship with Houghton Regis Town Council, and in particular the Combatting Crime Working Group. This has paid dividends in terms of producing some significant results in the reduction of both anti-social behaviour and the more serious criminality which effects the quality of life of local residents and serves as a model of partnership working”.

Houghton Regis Town Council welcomed the updates from the Commissioner and took the opportunity to thank her for her "significant contribution to policing in the county over the past four years".

Councillor Susan Goodchild said “I would like to thank the Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, and her team for the public surgery held in Houghton Regis. The benefit of this level of engagement and the wide range of expertise and experience in the room was evident. Bringing together local, regional and national partners in delivering innovative early intervention and preventive projects, protecting our communities and the most vulnerable is greatly appreciated”.

Commissioner Holloway has been holding a series of surgeries with the public around the county, followed by meetings with local town councils. Such events have already taken place in Bedford, Luton, Leighton Buzzard, Shefford and Biggleswade. The next public surgery is due to take place in Sandy on Monday 24th February 2020.

For a full breakdown of public meetings and information on how to book a session with the PCC, please visit the PCC website.


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