Bedfordshire Police awarded £4m grant to help tackle violent crime

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway. Photo: Andy Watts

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway. Photo: Andy Watts - Credit: Archant

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway has won her bid for more than £4 million to help tackle gang, gun and knife crime in the county.

The force has been awarded £4.5m from the government’s Policing Special Grant after Mrs Holloway met with the Home Office’s police funding team and policing minister, Nick Hurd, to argue the cost of fighting a surge in crime was putting pressure on Beds Police.

“I’m absolutely delighted that the minister and the Home Office have been listening, as has the police watchdog who have to recommend that a bid is accepted, and that my bid for £4.571m is to be granted in full,” said Mrs Holloway.

“It’s genuinely a first that this type of grant is being paid to us at all.

“Usually only single events which are not part of the usual workload of a force qualify for a special grant, but I’ve fought all year to land the argument that the nature of the gang, gun and knife issues we face represents precisely that extraordinary challenge for Bedfordshire Police.”

The grant will not end the force’s money troubles, it does mean they will not overspend in this financial year, while Mrs Holloway confirmed that it will fund the entire cost of Operation Boson – the specialist response to gang, gun and knife crime.

Chief Constable Jon Boutcher – who helped win the grant – is delighted to have the money to tackle what he called a ‘serious and complex’ problem.

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He said: “The funding issues faced by this force are no secret and we have worked hard to highlight the issues of being a rurally-funded force having to deal with complex crime challenges usually seen in large metropolitan areas.

“This is fantastic news for Bedfordshire Police and will pay the force back some of the additional costs we have had to pay to respond to those serious and complex issues, including guns, gangs and knife crime, that we are not currently adequately financed to deal with.”

Mrs Holloway was also keen to thank Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries and North East Beds MP Alistair Burt for their support, and she joked: “This could have been a Black Friday announcement for Bedfordshire Police and instead it’s been a very welcome Christmas present.”