Chief constable pays tribute to outgoing Beds PCC Kathryn Holloway

Outgoing Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kathryn Holloway has been praised by the force's chief constable as she prepares to leave her role in May.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 1:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 2:00 pm

At Mrs Holloway's final Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel meeting on Tuesday, Chief Constable Garry Forsyth paid tribute to her.

"Five years after Kathryn became the PCC, she genuinely leaves a force which has been completely transformed beyond recognition," he said.

"This includes 'good' across the board from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in the most recent inspection, a growth in policing numbers, with more police officers in the county now than ever before, an award winning efficiency programme... and the delivery of the police and crime plan.

Beds Police Chief Constable Garry Forsyth and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kathryn Holloway

"I've lost count of how many millions of pounds of additional funding have been secured during her tenure."

"It's £16m if you were wondering Chief Constable," said the PCC's chief of staff, Clare Kelly.

Chief Constable Forsyth, who was appointed by a panel headed by Mrs Holloway in 2019, went on: "Few people will be aware of some of the things you've done nationally around international policing, such as the civil contingency support provided recently.

"Nothing can prepare you for the role of the PCC. When you come into the role it's really striking the volume and complexity of everything that's there.

"It's full energy. You live it every second. Your passion and energy over last five years has been extraordinary.

"Leadership in policing can be a lonely place at times. You've been a huge supporter of me, of my predecessor and of the force.

"You've undoubtedly held us to account and done so very effectively in a way that's felt supportive and that's got the best results.

"We've done some incredibly challenging, amazing and difficult things which will never see the light of day.

"You can be immensely proud of your achievements as the PCC for Bedfordshire."

Conservative Central Bedfordshire councillor Ian Dalgarno, who chairs the panel, said the PCC had used very opportunity "to be an advocate for Bedfordshire Police" and for its communities.

Budgets and funding, as well as the issues with the policing watchdog HMICFRS (Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services) were two key areas which have changed, councillor Dalgarno explained.

In 2017, Mrs Holloway lodged a complaint against HMICFRS after the force received a "Requires Improvement" grading, which Mrs Holloway alleged was unfair as did not take into account Beds Police's funding issues. Inspector Zoe Billingham voluntarily stepped aside, while new inspector Matt Swain has since rated the force 'Good'. An independent investigation of the complaint was undertaken by Tom Kark QC, whose report Mrs Holloway has called to be published and examined in Parliament.

The PCC told the panel she hopes her term will be remembered "for me, as being about policing" and not politics.

"I have lived and breathed policing and victims of crime," she said. "I'm certainly never going to forget Bedfordshire.

"I hope to now support the interests of British policing as a whole, including Bedfordshire, with those examples right at the forefront of my mind.

"There's a great deal to look forward to. I'm absolutely delighted before I leave that so much of it has come to fruition.

"I'd like to thank you for your support, especially during the last 12 months and a very unexpected extension to my term, and I have to say a huge thank you to my Chief Constable."

Labour Luton borough councillor Anne Donelon said: "What you did with the suite for victims of possible sexual assault was absolutely amazing, and how tirelessly you worked.

"I think what you've done has helped women immensely. I just want to echo and applaud you for everything you've done and your contribution to Bedfordshire."

The election for a new Bedfordshire PCC takes place on Thursday, May 6. Register to vote here.