Chief Constable slams report that rated Bedfordshire Police ‘inadequate’

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Bedfordshire Police’s Chief Constable Jon Boutcher has expressed concerns about a report which claims the force is inadequate at keeping people safe.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) released a report today which rated the ‘effectiveness’ of Bedfordshire Police at keeping people safe and reducing crime as inadequate.

However Mr Boutcher says the grading is not a fair representation of the work being carried out by Bedfordshire Police.

He said: “While I welcome the inspector’s comments regarding the challenges we face as a force in regards to our complex demands and lack of resources due to poor funding, it is incredibly disappointing to have been so unfairly judged.

“It is pleasing that the report does praise the force, such as our response to domestic abuse, but there is so much missing from the report which would provide a more comprehensive picture of policing in Bedfordshire, particularly in relation to the way we deal with vulnerability.

“In the report the HMIC describes an effective force as one which keeps people safe and reduces crime.

“However, despite our crime figures being more impressive than the national picture and have invested significantly in keeping people safe following on from last year’s inspection, the report judges the force poorly.

“It makes little sense and I invite people to read the report and look at the force performance figures.

“I fully accept that there are areas we need to improve on, but to judge the force as inadequate does not give a fair reflection of all the fantastic and innovative work being carried out, particularly following a recent restructure to ensure our priority is protecting the vulnerable.

“The report claims we do not understand anti-social behaviour, however it fails to acknowledge the tremendous work being done by the force to reach out to communities encouraging them to report off-road biking, our biggest anti-social behaviour problem.

“Their information has allowed us to crack down on off-road bikes being used to terrify communities, our response has been praised by our communities.

“Nor does the report accurately reflect Operation Sentinel – a dedicated team which deals with on and off-street prostitution, drug dealing and associated criminality which blights neighbourhoods.

“The report flies in the face of the public satisfaction in Bedfordshire Police going up by 10 per cent during the inspection period and our victim satisfaction rate also improving.

“I very much look forward to future inspections that will more accurately portray the good work being carried out by Bedfordshire Police.”