Beds Police pledged Home Office fact finding mission after referendum ‘no’

PCC Olly Martins (centre)
PCC Olly Martins (centre)

A Home Office task force will be sent to Bedfordshire Police HQ to learn more about the force’s financial problems, it has been announced.

Following a resounding ‘no’ in the council tax referendum last month, police and crime commissioner Olly Martins has renewed his pleas for extra government funding.

MP and policing minister Mike Penning.

MP and policing minister Mike Penning.

As things stand Beds Police needs to find £17.5m in savings annually by 2019/20.

In response to the appeals Mike Penning, Hemel MP and police minister, has pledged to send Home Office staff to the constabulary on a “fact finding exercise”.

Mr Martins said: “I’m glad the Home Office is making the effort to find out what is really happening here.

“Whilst they are responsible for 65% of our funding it is at an insufficient level, which is why we have the highest number of recorded burglaries, robberies and car crimes per officer per year of any force in the country.“

He added: “In fact they fund us as though we’re a small rural force when in fact we face some distinctly urban challenges such as this high level of serious acquisitive crime, organised crime and extremism.

“I look forward to showing the Home Office that we haven’t been idle in response to the challenges we face.”

In the aftermath of the referendum South West Beds MP Andrew Selous aksed Mr Penning to hold meeting with all of the county’s MPs, to discuss the force’s financial mire.

The police minister has said that this is not necessary prior to the Home Office visit.

Mr Penning said: “Until the visit and follow up report has been completed, I do not think there will be any benefit for us meeting.

“However I will of course continue to engage you and other relevant MPs in the matter.”