‘Overstretched’ force needs cash

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Beds Police Federation has come out in support of the proposed referendum on May 7.

Describing the county force as the most overstretched and under resourced force in the country, Beds Police Federation chairman Jim Mallen said: “There are 38 crimes a year recorded per Bedfordshire Police officer against a national average figure of 29 crimes per officer. Only Humberside has a higher level than us and they are much better funded.”

He continued: “Bedfordshire Police is funded to the tune of 44p per resident per day compared to a national average figure of 55p. This puts us on a par with forces such as Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

“So we have the demands of an urban force but the resources of a rural one. The loss of nearly 200 police officers in Bedfordshire in the last four years now leaves the force stretched to the limit.”

Mr Mallen continued: “Our Chief Constable, Colette Paul, has made it clear due to the challenging range of crimes and risks we face we need an additional 300 officers simply in order to put us on a par with the resources similar forces have.

“Given this grim prospect I think it is right to ask the public of Bedfordshire whether they are prepared to pay a bit more through the council tax to help keep their police force viable.

“The increase, working out at just 48p a week extra for a Band D property will also fund 100 extra police officers.”

Beds Police Crime Commissioner Olly Martins is asking for an extra 15.8% on the police precept at May’s election which he says will provide 100 more officers for the county.