Bedfordshire PCC hits out at ‘incredibly disappointing’ PEEL assessment after ‘tsunami of inspections’

Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner Olly Martins has condemned the report.

Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner Olly Martins has condemned the report. - Credit: Archant

Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner has hit out at an ‘incredibly disappointing’ assessment of the force.

The first Police Efficiency, Effectiveness and Legitimacy assessment of the past year was published today, concluding that Bedfordshire Police ‘requires improvement in a number of areas’.

Zoë Billingham, of Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary which introduced the report, said: “In terms of its effectiveness, in general, the force is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.

“However, it requires improvement in reducing crime and preventing offending, and in the way it investigates offending.

“I had some specific concerns about its approach to domestic abuse, although there are now very early signs of improvement since the initial inspection.

“We are encouraged that the force leadership has a good grasp and understanding of the issues and areas that need to improve and that it is moving in the right direction.”

Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner Olly Martins said: “Clearly Bedfordshire Police faces serious challenges because it doesn’t receive a level of resources appropriate to its needs, and in fact we still face further government police funding cuts.

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“Despite this we have been able to alter the decisions to cut policing numbers inherited from the previous police authority and the force is now one of the few that is recruiting to improve its service to the public.

“So far this year we have seen 107 new officers join us, something HMIC barely acknowledges.

“I therefore despair of HMIC’s attitude towards Bedfordshire Police. They have a real ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ approach that is particularly unhelpful.

“I find it incredibly disappointing that, rather than being a critical friend in challenging times, HMIC prefers to hit police forces with a tsunami of inspections and recommendations in a costly and time consuming process that has started to usurp the role of locally accountable police and crime commissioners.”

Hertfordshire police and crime commissioner David Lloyd welcomed the report after the force received a ‘good’ rating for ‘reducing crime and preventing offending, investigating crime and tackling anti-social behaviour’.

PCC Lloyd said: “Whilst I am pleased that Hertfordshire has received an overall good rating, I have been concerned about the identified failings in recording procedures for some time and have been overseeing an improvement in their accuracy rates since these were first identified earlier this year.”