Police commissioner determined to increase force funding despite Chancellor’s u-turn on budget cuts

PCC Olly Martins
PCC Olly Martins

The feared cuts to Government police funding have been scrapped as the Chancellor makes a massive u-turn in his Autumn Statement.

George Osborne announced yesterday there would be no reduction in police spending, which means Bedfordshire Police will not need to cut officer numbers.

However, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins said he will continue “banging on the door” of the Home Office, campaigning to boost his “chronically underfunded” force.

He said: “Having called for 25 to 40 per cent police cuts in the summer, I’m glad the Government has now listened and woken up to the fact that this was a really bad idea.

“However, whilst it is good that we shouldn’t face further cuts to our already anaemic police strength in the county, Bedfordshire Police is still chronically underfunded and that hasn’t changed.

“We still need a fairer slice of the government’s police funding cake to address the fact that we have a low number of police officers for our population, with 169 per 100,000 as against 232 national average, and 388 in the Met, whilst having a high level of serious crime.

“That’s why I will continue campaigning to get the government to adequately fund our police”.

Despite the challenges faced by the force, Mr Martins remains full of praise for the officers who do police the county.

He said: “They do a fantastic job and we get a really good service from them but there just aren’t enough of them. Bedford has been punching above its weight.

“Crime statistics suggest we have deep-seated issues we should attend to, but there are not enough resources to make a real difference.”