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Chief Constable urged to take decisive action

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Bedfordshire’s police chief is “to be held to account” over improving relations between cops and the community in Luton.

Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins has told the county’s Chief Constable Colette Paul that trust and confidence needs to be restored following two serious incidents in the town in four months.

In November Leon Briggs died while in police custody, and last month a 33-year-old autistic man, Faruk Ali, was allegedly assaulted by police officers while he was sorting the bins outside his home.

Both incidents are now being independently investigated.

Vigils have been held outside Luton police station each month since Leon’s death and last week community leaders held a heated meeting with police chiefs over the latest incident.

Speaking at the meeting of his strategic board on Monday, Mr Martins said the impact on public perception following the incidents must not be underestimated.

He told the Chief Constable: “That is why, on behalf of all our communities, I will continue to regularly hold you to account for the crucial work that must now take place to repair the damage that these incidents have undoubtedly done to the relationship between Bedfordshire Police and communities in Luton. We must restore trust and confidence.”

Ms Paul, who was planning to meet with Faruk’s family, who live in Whitby Road, Luton, yesterday, told the meeting 50 body-worn cameras had now been bought by the force with a roll out of up to 300 expected soon.

The Justice 4 Leon campaign was set up following the death of father-of-two Leon Briggs after he was arrested in Marsh Road, Luton, on November 4 last year. They have set up the Leon’s law campaign for body- worn cameras to be used in all interactions with the public.

Mr Martins is also being investigated by the police watchdog for leaking information to a third party about the Leon Briggs investigation.

 

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