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56 people arrested for drink-driving in the Thames Valley

This article was published in December 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Thames Valley Police have arrested 56 people on suspicion of drink-driving after seven (1-7 Dec) days of the Christmas anti-drink drug drive campaign.

The 'Is it worth the risk?' campaign was launched on Monday 1 December and is aimed at targeting drink and drug drivers over the festive period. A total of 2,779 people have so far been breath tested.

Of those arrested, 46 were men (a 16 per cent decrease) and 10 were female (33 per cent decrease). The oldest was a 63-year-old man arrested in Slough on 6 December and the youngest were two 19-year-old men arrested in Slough on 3 December and Aylesbury on 6 December for drug-driving. The average age of those arrested was 35.

The highest reading so far was taken from a driver in Berkshire on 2 December, who was five times over the legal limit according to a breath test at the scene.

In total, 31 of the 56 arrested have been charged, 17 have been released on bail pending further enquiries and eight people have been released with no further action.

This year's arrests show a 20 per cent decrease on the 70 arrests made during the same period in 2013.

The campaign, which runs until 1 January, will see police targeting individuals they suspect of driving under the influence of drink or drugs, both on the way home from nights out and the morning after a heavy night.

Of the arrests, 22 have been made in Berkshire, 20 in Buckinghamshire and 14 in Oxfordshire.

Chief Inspector for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Roads Policing Unit, Henry Parsons said: "People often ask us what's the safe limit to drink and drive. The answer is that there isn't one, please don't mix the two, the consequences simply aren't worth the risk, real people die and get injured."


Public 'Ride Along' with Bedfordshire Police Officers

This article was published in December 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceMembers of the public will be able to accompany officers on patrol across Bedfordshire in a 'Ride Along' scheme launched this month.

From November 30, anyone aged 18 and above will be able to apply to accompany a frontline officer to get an insight into policing.

The 'Ride-Along' sessions will usually last for a minimum of four hours during which activities such as arrests, dealing with victims and offenders, statement taking, questioning and stop and searches may be observed.

Observers will be able to request a 'Ride Along' in their local area, which will allow them get to know their local policing teams better.

Chief Constable Colette Paul said: "I am delighted we will be offering these 'Ride Alongs' which will open up a window on the world of policing.

"The scheme is not just about helping the public better understand the work that we do. It is an opportunity for us to learn from them too. We welcome any feedback from ride-along observers and will use this to help inform our policing approach moving forward."

The observer will wear a high visibility vest while out on patrol and will have to attend a safety briefing prior to going out.

If a situation is considered unsafe, the observer will be required to remain in the police vehicle.

If, at any time, the observer compromises their own safety or that of the officer, the ride along will be terminated with immediate effect.

For more information about the ride along scheme and to apply, please visit bedfordshire.police.uk/advice_centre/stop_and_search/ride_along_scheme.aspx


Ensure That You Have a Great Halloween

This article was published in October 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceWith Halloween just around the corner, Bedfordshire Police has launched a series of posters to remind parents, guardians and youngsters to stay safe during the festivities.

The four posters – which can be downloaded from the Bedfordshire Police website - offer hints and tips to 'Trick or Treaters' as well reminding people that not everyone enjoys Halloween as much as others. There are also posters for shop owners to place in their windows advising that eggs and flour will be sold at their discretion as well as a poster for residents who may not want callers at their door.

Officers have already been to schools around Bedfordshire to hand out posters and it is hoped that the campaign will ensure that all residents enjoy October 31 without causing distress to those who do not want to participate.

During this time of year, the police take many extra complaints about Halloween-related activities. Some of these are about noise or general "high spirits" – but often the fun has degenerated into serious inconvenience and outright criminal activity.

Activities such as throwing eggs, flour and water bombs at other people or their property are, at the least, frightening for those who are subjected to it and at worst can mean the police investigating crimes such as assault.

Coupled with the onset of Bonfire night, Halloween can also mean extra problems with fireworks being thrown or used irresponsibly. It's worth bearing in mind that letting off fireworks near the road is actually a criminal offence.

To help reduce these types of incidents Bedfordshire Police will have a number of extra patrols in operation across the county to make sure that everyone has a good time whilst staying safe.

For more advice about Halloween please visit bedfordshire.police.uk/.../stay_safe_halloween.aspx


Bower Lane Eaton Bray - Burglary

This article was published in October 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceLocation: Bower Lane, Eaton Bray.

Date and Time: Friday the 17th of October, between 10:30 a.m. and, 3:55 p.m.

Incident Details: The offenders gained access via a kitchen window. A messy search was made. Various items have been taken.

Crime Reference: J D / 4 0 1 5 9 / 2014.

Crime Reduction Advice

  • Make your boundaries difficult or impossible to climb over.
  • Keep doors and windows locked at all times.
  • Remove all keys from the locks and keep them in a safe place out of view.
  • Keep hallways clear of valuables like keys, handbags and laptop where they may be seen.
  • Check that side gates are locked.
  • Keep bins, ladders and garden furniture locked away.
  • Fit Window Restrictors to fan light windows.

Theft of Bonnet, Bumber and Headlights from Vauxhall Corsa

This article was published in August 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.
Incident Type: Theft from Vehicle.
Location: Cantilupe Close, Eaton Bray.
Date and Time: Between 7:00 p.m. on the 6th and 8:00 a.m. on the 7th August.
Incident Details: The vehicle was a Grey, 11 registered, Vauxhall Corsa. 
The offender has smashed a side window, to release the bonnet.
The bonnet, front bumper and headlights have been taken.
 
This may be linked to a number of recent offences in the County, targeting Vauxhall vehicles, for body parts.
If you are purchasing second hand, bumpers, bonnets, or headlights for these vehicles, please be extra aware, and report any suspicious traders immediately
Crime Reference:  J D / 3 0 5 9 7 / 2014.
Crime Reduction Advice: Park in well lit and public areas. If you have a garage please use it.
Be aware of any suspicious activity around parked vehicles.
Always check that it is correctly locked, and all valuables are removed, before leaving the vehicle.

If you have information about any crime or suspicious activity please call the Control Room on 1 0 1

Or Text your message to 07786 200011

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org - No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

 

Source: Ringmaster


BT Technician Hoax Call Warning

This article was published in June 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

International Routing SystemBedfordshire Police have been contacted by a local resident who very nearly became a victim of a telephone scam.

A caller, claiming to be a BT Technician has reported issues with the broadband connection, suggesting that there may be a fault with the computer.

After a number of conversations the caller has offered to fix the problems by remotely logging into the computer.

At the point where the caller has asked for payment details the resident has become suspicous and has ended the call.

Whilst the resident has not lost any money they have had to contact their bank, broadband supplier and get their computer checked.

These callers are both persistent and convincing.


If you are called by anyone claiming to have information about your broadband or home computer remember the following.

Genuine BT staff do not recite account details over the phone.

Do not let a caller remotely access your computer - this may lead to personal data being captured.

Never give bank details to an unsolicited caller.

If you think that you have been a victim, run a virus scan, alert you bank and contact Action Fraud to report the scam.


Community Speed Watch coming to your area?

This article was published in May 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Community Speed WatchAre speeding motorists an issue in your neighbourhood? Do you want to help do something about it?

More volunteers are currently being sought for the Community Speed Watch scheme which already operates in Bedford and Central Bedfordshire and is now coming to Luton too.

Supported by the Bedfordshire and Luton Casualty Partnership, Community Speed Watch enables volunteers to work within their communities to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and help control the problem locally.

People who register undertake training run by Bedfordshire Police covering the use of speed indicator devices and radar guns, conflict resolution and an option for basic first aid.

Equipment is delivered by local policing teams, and  volunteers then run sessions noting the date, time, colour, make, model and registration number of any vehicle exceeding the speed limit.

Registered keepers of offending vehicles are written to by the police, informing them that they were detected exceeding the speed limit and giving the details.

Persistent speeders receive a second letter, and if there is a third occasion motorists can expect further action to be taken by police.

Schemes can be set up in any ward, village or parish governed by a 30mph speed limit and where a group of at least three trained volunteers exists.

Chief Inspector Neill Waring from Bedfordshire Police said: "Excessive speed on the roads is one of the most common issues raised by residents across Luton, Bedford and Central Bedfordshire, and has an impact not only on road safety but on the quality of life of those that endure it.

"Community Speed Watch seeks to promote safer driving in our local communities by educating rather than prosecuting individuals. Data collected is passed to Bedfordshire Police who may undertake further speed checks and result in drivers being prosecuted."

Volunteers from Community Speed Watch will be undertaking roadside checks during week commencing 19 May in Luton, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard and Bedford.


Free driving courses for young drivers in May

This article was published in May 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceYoung drivers from across Central Bedfordshire and Luton are being encouraged to improve their driving knowledge and skills in May, as part of an initiative designed to reduce road casualties.

Places are now open for MORE 16 and MORE Drive courses on Sunday 18 May. The courses are free and the age range has now been extended to MORE Drive to include those up to 30 years old. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis on receipt of a completed application form, which can be requested by emailing roadsafety@luton.gov.uk.

The courses are funded by Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Borough Council, with delivery organised by highways contractor Amey.

MORE 16 is designed to give 16-year-olds their first experience of driving. Advice is also given to parents about choosing a driving instructor and how to help their teens when practising. A high-speed passenger ride with a Millbrook pro-driver with competition history in motorsport such as rallying or racing is available to all parents that attend.

For the first time, MORE Drive is now available for 17 to 30-year-olds who have already passed their driving test, increasing the upper age limit from 24 years. MORE Drive offers the chance to drive on a skid pan and experience ABS braking systems, as well as practising emergency stops at speed to demonstrate varying stopping distances.

Workshops covering driving skills, maintenance, distractions and safety will be run by the local authorities, Bedfordshire Police and Three Shires Driving School.

Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities, Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "The MORE 16 and MORE Drive courses are really popular and we have had great feedback from them. We're committed to reducing accidents where young people are killed or seriously injured and this education focus is working well.

"The courses are a great way for our young people to learn new skills and improve their driving ability. We are also delighted to be able to extend MORE Drive to drivers up to 30 years for the first time to increase their road safety awareness and driving abilities."

Sara Cannon, who attended the MORE 16 parents' workshop, said: "Many thanks for providing a well-run and thought-provoking course. Courses like this don't just happen and there will have been a lot of hard work behind the scenes to give all the participants (young and not so young) a really useful and memorable event."

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Body-Worn Video Cameras Go Live In Bedfordshire

This article was published in May 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police has now completed the roll out of 60 body worn video cameras for use by frontline officers across the county.

The cameras, which are worn on the outside of the uniform, are designed to capture the sound as well as an accurate and transparent visual account of interactions with the public by response officers where an evidential record may be required. The roll out began in the south of the county last week and this week saw response officers in the north supplied with cameras. Officers working on the ANPR Unit have also been issued with the technology.

Deployment of the 60 cameras follows a significant trial to assess the best technology and value for money as part of a wider approach to safeguarding the public and Bedfordshire Police's frontline.

Battery life of the cameras and the finite ability to store vast amounts of data means not every conversation with a member of the public will be recorded, for example; the devices are used when there is an evidence gathering opportunity and not for general innocent conversations with the public.

Bedfordshire Police policy is that where the use of force, arrests or detentions are anticipated that the recording of the event should start at the earliest opportunity. While the decision to record or not record any incident remains with the device user, they must be mindful that failing to record incidents that are evidential will require explanation in court.

Assistant Chief Constable Nigel Trippett said: "The benefit of body worn cameras is there for all to see and the policy we have trialled requires officers to make sure they capture as much of an incident as possible by recording at the earliest opportunity and if it is possible informing those present they are doing so. Clearly we must also be mindful of filming anyone close by who is not directly involved in the incident however and every attempt to minimise accidental intrusion must also be observed."

During the camera trial Bedfordshire Police consulted with the public and asked the question 'should all uniformed officers have to wear a body worn video camera whilst on duty'. The results showed 79.4 per cent of the 1,882 who answered said 'yes' and 20.6 per cent said 'no'. Of the 1,916 who answered the question 'Do you feel body worn cameras can help police in your area gather evidence' an overwhelming 97.3 said 'yes'.

"These figures, combined with many of the positive comments received during our survey, are good indications that we have strong public support in Bedfordshire," added Mr Trippett.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "I welcome the news that Bedfordshire Police has invested in body worn cameras to gather evidence of criminal activity at scenes of violence and disorder."

"The benefits of the cameras are vast. They will discourage unruly behaviour during arrests, thereby protecting officers and the public, rule out issues of offender identification, and will provide indisputable evidence, which will assist the CPS when making charging decisions and prosecuting cases at court."

"Hopefully, the clarity of the evidence recorded will encourage offenders to plead guilty to offences at an earlier stage, reducing the need for lengthy court cases and ensuring speedier justice for victims and witnesses."

Bedfordshire Police has been trialling the cameras since June 2013.

 


New Deputy Chief Constable Appointed

This article was published in May 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police has appointed a new Deputy Chief Constable.

Chief Constable Colette Paul said: "I am delighted to announce the appointment of Assistant Chief Constable Jon Boutcher as the new Deputy Chief Constable of Bedfordshire. Jon is already serving as the ACC of our collaborated units, Joint Protective Services, so is familiar with our county and brings a wealth of experience from a range of operational portfolios. He will take over the post when the current DCC John Fletcher retires in July."

Commissioner Olly Martins added; "Jon is a welcome addition to the top team who demonstrated a clear committment to meeting the needs of victims and building a strong partnership with the public to help keep our county safe."

ACC Jon Boucther said: "I am delighted and feel very privileged to have been selected as the Deputy Chief Constable for Bedfordshire Police. I look forward to working with all of the staff and partner agencies who work so hard to keep everyone safe in the county. I would especially like to thank John Fletcher, the outgoing Deputy, for his outstanding work within the force."

Source: Ringmaster


Northall Road Burglary attempt

This article was published in April 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Incident Type: Burglary Attempt.

Location: Northall Road, Eaton Bray.

Date and Time: Monday 21st April, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Incident Details:
The offender has tried to force open the front door.
The frame has been damaged, but no entry was gained and no property has been taken.
Good quality doors and locks can prevent an offender entering your home.

Crime Reference: J D / 1 5 3 2 2 / 2014.

Crime Reduction Advice:
Keep Doors locked, even when you are in the house.
Double lock UPVC doors at all times.
Use timer switches on lights or a radio when you are out.
Keep hallways clear of valuables like vehicle keys, handbags and laptop where they may be seen.
Consider fitting security lighting or an alarm to deter offenders.
Report suspicious activity in neighbours gardens.


Bedfordshire Police declare Rogue Trader Week Of Action A Success

This article was published in April 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police has been taking action to target rogue traders as part of a week-long national enforcement and awareness initiative.

Rogue traders are individuals or groups of people who cold-call householders, often targeting vulnerable residents, claiming to be a bona fide business and purporting to offer services, most commonly buildings maintenance and repair. The offenders charge excessive fees for the work, yet the work that is carried out is either substandard or not carried out at all.

All last week Bedfordshire officers were joined by trading standards officials and partner agencies inn a wide range of work to disrupt the activity of rogue trading and to make communities aware of this type of crime.

DCI Juliette Everett who coordinated the week long initiative said: "Tackling rogue traders this week has been a priority; unscrupulous rogues and distraction burglars can have a devastating impact on people's lives, and their activities are often linked to a vast network of crime.  Partnership working is an integral part of tackling the scourge of rogue traders – work that is carried out relentlessly by numerous agencies throughout the year.  Initiatives like Operation Rogue Trader provide an important opportunity to raise awareness and to empower consumers to say no to cold-callers."

"Remember, doorstep crime is not only restricted to driveway work, gardening, roofing and guttering scams, these criminals will also make a telephone call first to make appointments to sell other products or services, including overpriced mobility aids, beds, alarm systems, solar panels and more."

  • Activity across Bedfordshire included PCSO's visiting local car boot sales with objective of targeting any potential rogue traders.
  • Visits by Central Beds Community Safety Partnership and officers visiting scrap dealers and vehicles containing scrap metal.
  • Bedford Borough Council Trading Standards targeting rogue builders and rogue car dealers.
  • ANPR units were deployed in north and central Bedfordshire to target vehicles carrying our gardening work or canvassing for such work. While on patrol the ANPR officers arrested three men on suspicion of theft of a large amount of meat from Sainsbury's in Biggleswade that had just been stolen.
  • Bedfordshire Police were in Biggleswade Market Square between 9am – 12 noon (April 10) providing information to businesses and residents to raise levels of awareness.
  • A further 64 homes were visited in The Baulk, Biggleswade with leaflets delivered along with "No Cold Calling" window stickers.
  • 75 residents in the villages of Northill and Ickwell, both of which had expressed concerns recently about the increase in thefts in the area were also visited. 

Simple steps to prevent becoming a victim of this type of crime include:

  • Don't sign on the spot – consider carefully whether you want the goods or services
  • Always shop around for the best price
  • Be wary of special offers or warnings about the state of your home
  • Don't hand over a cash deposit
  • Don't agree to a trader starting any work straight away
  • Do talk to someone you trust for a second opinion

"Offenders can be both plausible and intimidating in order to convince their victims to pay prices which are often well above what should normally be charged and certainly does not reflect the work that is carried out, if it is carried out at all," DCI Everett added.

If you have any suspicions at all about cold-callers or traders operating in your community, please call your police force on 101.

Source: Ringmaster, Bedfordshire


Burglaries - Medley Close/The Nurseries, Eaton Bray

This article was published in April 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Incident Type: Burglaries,

Location: Eaton Bray.

Date and Time: Friday 4th April, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.

Incident Details:
Two burglaries have been reported in the area in this time.
The first took place in Medley Close, between 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The offender has forced the front door.
A messy search took place.
Money and Jewellery have been taken.
The second took place in The Nurseries, between 10:30 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.
A french door at the rear of the house has been smashed.
A messy search took place.
A plasma TV and some jewellery have been taken.

Crime Reference: J D / 1 2 8 1 0 / 2014, and J D / 1 2 9 1 6 / 2014.

Crime Reduction Advice:
Keep Doors locked, even when you are in the house.
Double lock UPVC doors at all times.
Use timer switches on lights or a radio when you are out.
Keep hallways clear of valuables like vehicle keys, handbags and laptop where they may be seen.
Consider fitting security lighting or an alarm to deter offenders.
Report suspicious activity in neighbours gardens.


Countywide Car Parts Theft - Warning

This article was published in March 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceDetectives undertaking a countywide investigation in to the theft of car parts are warning motorists to take extra care when they park their vehicles.

Operation King, a dedicated initiative to crackdown on those who steal vehicle parts from high performance vehicles, such as Astra, Corsa and Insignia VXRs, in the county has been running for a number of months. Dedicated officers have been working to arrest those people who trade in stolen parts with eight commercial and residential addresses being searched and five men being arrested so far.

Work is also being undertaken by the team to gain a better understanding of the market for these stolen car parts and police have recovered several tens of dozens of stolen parts during enforcement activity.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Middleton, said: "Identification of recovered parts is on-going but we are very keen to have any relevant information from the public, either directly to the Force or through Crimestoppers to help us tackle this on-going problem. We are particularly interested to hear about any outlets where suspected stolen parts are being traded." 

He continued: "The public can also assist us by property marking their items using any of the commercially available property marking products, which may help us to identify stolen parts and to bring offenders to justice more rapidly. If your vehicle is fitted with an alarm than please make sure you use it whenever you park your vehicle, and if possible, park your car in a well lit area. The reduction of vehicle crime has been a long-standing priority for Bedfordshire Police and the loss and disruption caused to victims clearly illustrates why this type of crime is taken so seriously by us."

Anyone with information relating to this type of crime can contact Bedfordshire Police on 101, or text information to 07786 200011.

Alternatively contact the independent crime fighting charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


Park Lane Eaton Bray - Burglary

This article was published in February 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceLocation: Park Lane, Eaton Bray

Date and Time: Overnight on the 12th to the 13th February.

Incident Details:
The location is a new development. The offender has forced open the door to the garage. A search took place, but it is not yet known if any property has been taken.

A supicious vehicle has been reported at the location prior to the incident. A White Ford Transit Van, with the registration similar to L S 5 9 K T E. One white male in his 30s and Two white females in their 20s were seen with the vehicle.

Crime Reference: J D / 5 6 4 9 / 2014.

Crime Reduction Advice:
Keep Doors locked, even when you are in the house. Double lock UPVC doors at all times.

Use timer switches on lights or a radio when you are out.

Keep hallways clear of valuables like vehicle keys, handbags and laptop where they may be seen.

Consider fitting security lighting or an alarm to deter offenders.

Report suspicious activity in neighbours gardens.


Be Extra Vigilant When Using Bank Cards

This article was published in November 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police is warning the public to be extra vigilant when using their bank cards after two elderly residents had their cards stolen from them when out shopping.

The first incident happened on Friday (Nov 15) when the 85 year old victim was at the Sainsburys Store in Bells Brook, Biggleswade.  The victim had noticed that someone was watching her pay for her shopping using her bank card. When she returned to her car a woman approached her and asked if she wanted help putting her shopping in to the back of her car. The victim agreed and a short time later a man approached and told the girl it was time to leave. On returning home the victim realised that her bank card was missing and when she contacted the bank she was told it had been used several times.

The second incident happened on Wednesday (Nov 20) when an 82 year old victim was approached by a woman as she was putting her shopping in to the back of her car in West Street, Leighton Buzzard. The woman, who is described as having an Eastern European appearance and spoke with an accent, asked the victim for change. The victim removed her purse from her bag to illustrate that she didn't have any change and the woman left.  However, shortly after the victim realised her bank card and credit card had been taken.

Gary Maxey, investigating, is keen to remind members of the public to take extra care when they are out shopping and to ensure they protect their pin numbers and payment cards.

He said: "I would warn anyone who is out shopping, especially over the busy festive period, to ensure they take extra precautions to ensure they are not being overlooked when using payment cards. Always cover the key pad when entering your pin number, and if anyone is standing too close to you, politely ask them to step away or alert the store security staff.

"Often people will use a number of tactics to distract and trick people in to revealing where they keep their cards and cash. Asking for change or saying that you've dropped something on the floor can be a ruse so please avoid getting your purse or wallet out in public."

Anyone with information relating to these crimes can contact Gary Maxey, in confidence, at Bedfordshire Police on 101, or text information to 07786 200011.

Alternatively, contact the independent crime fighting charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Source: Ringmaster


We're ready for storm forecast - are you?

This article was published in October 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceEmergency response partners on the Bedfordshire and Luton Local Resilience Forum met this afternoon to ensure they are ready to activate their plans ahead of anticipated severe weather on Sunday evening/Monday morning.

Currently the Met Office has an amber alert in place for the county predicting winds of 60-80mph, resulting in possible dangerous driving conditions, widespread tree and minor structural damage, risk of injury from flying debris and the potential for localised interruption to power supplies.

There is also a yellow flood warning in place advising that persistent heavy rain could cause surface water flooding.

Bedfordshire Police Chief Supt Mike Colbourne, Chair of BLLRF, said: "While there is no need for any undue alarm, the forecast is currently for winds of a strength that we have not seen in this part of the country for more than 20 years. With the trees still in leaf and the ground soft after recent rain, there is certainly the potential for some tree and structural damage, and disruption to travel particularly on Monday morning.

"There are number of straightforward steps that residents and businesses can take now to make sure they are as prepared as possible and I would urge them to do so.

"Partners will continue to monitor the latest forecasts over the weekend and, if the situation develops, can activate a multi-agency response including organisations such as the Environment Agency, Highways Agency and the utility companies.

Before a storm, secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them.

Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages.

Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences.

Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts, particularly if roof pitch is less than 30 degrees.

If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them.

During a storm, stay indoors as much as possible. If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees.

Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences — if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side. Do not go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress.

If possible, enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you. Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you.

Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary. Delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible.

If your journey is essential, take particular care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges or high open roads. Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high-sided vehicle.

After a storm, be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging, and do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened.

Make sure that any vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs.

Further advice for strong gales, heavy rain and flooding plus useful links including how to prepare an emergency home kit are available via the resilience forum's website www.whatwouldyoudoif.co.uk.

The website also features advice for businesses on preparing a business continuity plan, including a ten-minute health check.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


'You Lock Up, We Lock'em Up' - Winter Burglary Reduction Campaign

This article was published in September 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police"You Lock Up, We Lock'em Up." That's the message from Bedfordshire Police as the seasonal burglary reduction blitz kicks off early this year to keep offenders on the back foot as the force fights crime and protects the public.

The proactive enforcement, intelligence led and targeted operation will commence on Monday, September 30, and will target known and potential offenders in areas most hit by burglary. Dedicated teams from Local Policing, Crime Reduction, Roads Policing Unit and ANPR and Tasking Units will target key hotspots around the county.

Last year Operation Peak was one of a number of initiatives in Luton which contributed towards the current 31 per cent drop in burglaries in the town when compared to last year.

This year's burglary reduction initiative will remain 'Firm, Fair and Friendly', while using all available resources as well as wide and varying tactics including saturation policing, to make Bedfordshire a hostile environment in which to commit burglaries.

Speaking about the operation, Local Policing Chief Inspector Rob McCaffray, said: "We've run a variation of this targeted and intelligence led operation for a number of years and once again, as the evenings start to draw in, we will be continuing our efforts to fight burglary."

"Burglary is an offence which leaves the victim extremely upset and with a feeling of violation, particularly at a time when people are preparing for Christmas and a time of happiness. I can assure residents across Bedfordshire that we will be doing all that we can to reduce burglary within our communities."

Known offenders will be the key target of the operation and suspects can expect an increase in daily interaction with police officers over the coming months. Known offenders and suspects found to be in particular hotspot areas can also expect an increase in the use of police stop-and-search powers as Bedfordshire Police sends out a clear message that burglary will not be tolerated.

Local Policing Teams will also be distributing prevention advice in areas identified as burglary hotspots as well as executing search warrants where appropriate in order to fight crime and protect the public.

"Officers and PCSOs from across the force and from within the collaborated partnership are working hard to reduce the number of burglaries occurring in the county. We will also increase the opportunities for arresting those responsible – using wide and varying tactics including saturation policing, 'stop and search'  and others policing powers as necessary, making Bedfordshire a hostile environment in which to commit burglaries," added Chief Inspector McCaffray.

If you would like to speak to someone about crime reduction advice please contact your Local Policing Team via the force website at www.bedfordshire.police.uk, visit the force's Facebook page or telephone Bedfordshire Police on 101.

If you have information relating to those committing burglaries contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on the non-emergency number 101, or text information to 07786 2000111.

Alternatively contact independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

Source: Ringmaster


Have you had your say on how you prefer to access the Police

This article was published in September 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceClosing Date 1st October 2013

The recently announced Government funding cuts mean that Bedfordshire Police has to make savings of £7.5m - on top of the £15m already taken out of the budget since 2010.

With officers and staff already working at maximum efficiency I need to look at new ways in which I can find further savings.

Currently, police buildings in Bedfordshire cost £3m annually to run and maintain. Many are outdated and in need of refurbishment and are no longer in the best position to serve the public. Others are under-used and are consuming vast sums of money which could be better spent on protecting front line officers or PCSOs.

Meanwhile, technology and different methods of communicating mean that people often contact the police without visiting a police station and I am keen to establish how people prefer to contact the police in a non-emergency situation before I make any decisions on the future of police stations and contact points.

That's why I am asking you for your views.  They will help me shape my plans to improve accessibility to the police in non-emergency situations, while making savings that will keep as many police officers and PCSOs as possible on our streets.

 

Please tell me what you think by taking part in my survey.  It will take approximately 10 minutes and can be reached by clicking here https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=137483661407

The survey opened in July and will run until 1 October 2013.  The final report will be placed on my website and my decisions will be publicised widely.  If you wish to be alerted to the publication of the report, or would like to be informed of my decisions directly, please let my office know by emailing pcc@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk or telephoning 01234 842066.

I am also aware that some people may need the survey in alternative formats or languages, and every effort will be made to accommodate this as efficiently as possible.  Again, please contact my office with any such requests.

Thank you for getting involved and having your say about local policing.

Olly Martins
Police and Crime Commissioner


Beware Bank Card Scam

This article was published in July 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PolicePolice in Bedfordshire are asking residents to be extra vigilant when giving bank information over the telephone after receiving several reports of a scam.

The two most recent reports were received on July 23 and July 17 after residents in Houghton Regis and Dunstable received telephone calls from bogus police officers telling the victims that their bank details had been cloned.

The offenders told the victims that they were police officers from the Metropolitan Police Force and that they needed to confirm details of the victim's banking details and would call around to their home to collect the original bank cards.

The same or the following day a man posing as a police officer then attended the victim's home and collected the bank cards which were then used fraudulently.

A further four incidents following the same pattern have also been recorded within the last few months and appear to target older residents in the Dunstable and Houghton Regis areas.

Mark Collis, of Bedfordshire Police's Crime Bureau, is keen to warn residents of the scam and urges them not to give bank information to anyone who telephones their home; even if they say they are a police officer.

Mr Collis said: "These offenders are very plausible when they speak to people over the telephone and even give telephone numbers to the victims to check their credentials. I would urge people to contact their local force using 101 to verify the identity of any person telephoning your home and not to hand any bank cards over to anyone calling at your home. You should contact your bank directly if you think your cards have been compromised and never give anyone your pin number or your bank security answers as these will allow them to access your account. If you are at all concerned about telephone calls or callers to your home who ask for your bank details you can always go into your local police station or bank in person and speak to a representative direct to verify what is happening."

Anyone with information relating to these crimes can contact Bedfordshire Police on 101, or text information to 07786 200011.

Alternatively you can contact the independent crime fighting charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

 


Suspicious Telephone Call Warning

This article was published in July 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A resident in Bedfordshire has contacted us to report a suspicious telephone call.

The company called, claiming to be working with the Police in the local area providing crime reduction products.

The caller tried to make an appointment to visit the home and asked a number of questions about the resident and who else lived in the house.

The resident became suspicious of the caller and refused to provide any personal details, or to make an appointment.

Bedfordshire Police do not employ any private companies to undertake home security surveys.

If you have concerns about your home security you can speak to a Crime Reduction Officer by calling 101.

  • Do not disclose personal details over the phone.
  • If you wish to purchase home security products always get at least three written quotes from registered companies.
  • Check with your local Trading Standard Approved Traders list.
  • Ask friends and neighbours to recommend a suitable company.
  • Never agree to buy goods or services as a result of a cold call to your home. If you are interested, ask for them to send you details so that you have time to consider before making a purchase.
  • If you make an appointment for someone to visit, arrange for a friend or family member to be with you when they call.
  • Do not pay for work until it has been completed to an acceptable standard.

 


Attempted burglary suspect caught on camera

This article was published in June 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

This man was photographed in Wallace Drive, Eaton Bray, on WednesdayThe picture, taken on Wednesday in Eaton Bray, shows a man in a blue cap and gloves apparently running.

Police said three men had set off an alarm at a property in Wallace Drive. The neighbour who took the photo was slapped across the face, police said.

The men drove away in a black Mercedes with stolen number plates on display.

Det Sgt Dale Mepstead said he wanted to speak to anyone who could identify the man in the photo or who witnessed the break-in, at about 14:20 BST.

"The neighbour was very brave to challenge these men and luckily she was not hurt during her ordeal," he said.

"The property belongs to an elderly person and it is possible that these men chose this address because they thought it belonged to a vulnerable member of the community and therefore an easy target."

Police said nothing was taken from the house.

Source: BBC News


Burglary - Mill End Close, Eaton Bray

This article was published in May 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Date and Time: Wednesday 15th May, between 3:30 and 5:00 a.m.

Crime Reference: J D / 1 7 2 0 1 / 2013.

Incident Details:

The offender has gained access to the side of the house, forcing the lock to the kitchen door.

A messy search took place.

A motocycle helmet and two sets of vehicle keys have been taken from the house.

A motorbike has been taken from the driveway, and the garage door has been opened.

The car has been taken from inside the garage.

Crime Reduction Advice:

Keep Doors and Windows locked at all times.  Remove all keys from the locks and keep them in a safe place out of view.

Keep garden tools locked away to avoid them being used to force a door, or window.

Dont leave out anything that can be used as a climbing aid, either to reach a window or into a neighbours garden.

Keep hallways clear of valuables like keys, handbags and laptop where they may be seen.

If your house will be empty after dark leave a light on or set a timer.


If you have information about any crime or suspicious activity please call the Control Room on 101 or Text your message to 07786 200011

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org


Guest post from Olly Martins, Police & Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire

This article was published in May 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

This year the budget for Bedfordshire Police is £102.8million. That sounds like a lot of money until you remember that budget will have been reduced by £19million by 2015 due to the government's 20% cut to the police grant, a further £24million a year is lost to the Force because Whitehall doesn't give us what their own funding formula says we need, and the amount we pay locally for policing through the council tax is well below the national average. So Bedfordshire Police is a rurally funded force that faces some distinctly metropolitan challenges.

Olly Martins, Police & Crime Commissioner for BedfordshireBedfordshire Police staff and officers have therefore performed remarkably well reducing recorded crime across the county by 15% in the last year (1899 fewer across Central Bedfordshire as a whole) at the same time as going through significant re-organisation and a reduction in the number of police officers due to the budget cuts.

The government will unveil a new spending review shortly, which is expected to herald yet further police cuts. I am opposed to such cuts but my role is to deal with the world as I find it rather than as I would wish it to be.

So the challenge for the future for Bedfordshire Police, and indeed for all of us, is how do we keep our communities safe at a time when the budget is still be shrinking?

The answer is that we need to forge a closer and stronger partnership between our local communities and their police and all recognise the police cannot and never have been able to fight crime on their own. Wherever we live in the county we all have a duty to support the police if we want our communities to be safe, whether this means passing on information about criminal activity, being prepared to support the local Neighbourhood Watch, Street Watch and Speed Watch scheme or, for the most committed, volunteering as a Special Constable so that each community has a visible policing presence.

There must be a genuine partnership, so Bedfordshire Police will work hard to value the support communities and volunteers give. Whereas in the past such close partnership has always been desirable, in the future it is clear that it will be absolutely essential, which is why this is such a priority for me as your Police and Crime Commissioner.


Burglary - Edlesborough

This article was published in April 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

This is a Neighbourhood Alert from Thames Valley Police, Aylesbury.

A burglary has been reported at a residential property on High Street, Edlesborough on Monday 29 April. Between 4:45am and 5:30am offenders forced open a ground floor rear window to gain entry. An IPad was taken from the property.

Please remain vigilant and make sure any suspicious activity is reported immediately to the Police. Where possible get a description of them and the details of any vehicle they may be using – especially the registration number.

Nicola Swanscott from Aylesbury Local CID would like to hear from anyone that might have seen or heard anything in relation to this crime. If you have any information please contact her via the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre number 101.

If you don't want to speak to the Police or give your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


Crime Plummets Again in Bedfordshire

This article was published in April 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police"Less crime means fewer victims" says Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock after Bedfordshire Police recorded some of the largest reductions in the country in the 12 month period to December 2012, particularly in key offences such as burglary and violent crime.

The dramatic fall in overall crime, 15% compared with a national average of 8%, follows the previous three months which also saw a huge reduction across the county.

"The figures published today continue to  show the force is achieving the aim of fighting crime and protecting the public ensuring residents of Bedfordshire are less likely to be a victim of crime than the national average," said Mr Hitchcock. "We are not complacent but the significant fall in crime is testimony to the great job the men and women of Bedfordshire Police are doing, day in day out, to fight crime and protect the public against a backdrop of real cuts to resources."

"For some time now our priority has been focused on tackling and reducing the number of homes broken into across the county and these figures show we have achieved this with huge reductions in house burglaries. The force is also ranked second highest when it comes to reducing break-ins to other buildings such as sheds, outbuildings and business premises."

"Bedfordshire is a force that continues to punch above its weight however we can only do this with the support of the public and volunteers, including the Special Constabulary and Cadets, who we rely on to help prevent crime."

Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins added; "The officers and staff of Bedfordshire Police are to be congratulated on another good year of cutting crime, particularly burglary, even at a time of government funding cuts and organisational upheaval. The recent success of Operation Sabre, including significant numbers of arrests across the county for offences related to burglary and handling, demonstrates the Force's determination to take the fight against crime to the criminals, especially those offenders who cause our communities most harm. This is how we will continue to cut crime and make our county safer."

Bedfordshire has seen some of the largest reductions in crime rates in England and Wales including:

  • 15% reduction in overall crime – 4th largest reduction in England and Wales
  • 14% reduction in Domestic Burglary – the 11th largest reduction (8% decrease nationally)
  • 28% reduction in other burglary – the 2nd highest reduction
  • 18% reduction in Violence Against the Person – the 3rd highest reduction (6% decrease nationally)
  • 17% reduction in offences against vehicles – the 15th highest reduction
  • 15% reduction in Criminal Damage – the 8th highest reduction (8% decrease nationally)

Bedfordshire's overall crime rate for the period was 59.7 crimes per 1000 population, below the England and Wales rate of 67.0 crimes per 1000 population.


Burglary - Edlesborough

This article was published in April 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

This is a Neighbourhood Alert from Thames Valley Police, Aylesbury.

A burglary has been reported to a residential property in The Pastures, Edlesborough, between Saturday 20 and Tuesday 23 April. Offenders gained entry by forcing a side door open – at this time it is not clear what, if anything, has been stolen.

Please remain on your guard and make sure any suspicious activity is reported immediately to the police. Where possible get a description of them and details of any vehicle they may be using, especially the registration number.

Det Con Emma Francis from Aylesbury Local CID would like to hear from anyone that might have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area in relation to this incident. If you have any information please call Det Con Francis via the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre number 101.

If you don't want to speak to the Police or give your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


Burglary - Good Intent, Edlesborough

This article was published in March 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

This is a Neighbourhood Alert from Thames Valley Police, Aylesbury.

A burglary has been reported on Good Intent, Edlesborough, between 10pm on Tuesday 26 and 3am on Wednesday 27 March.  Offenders forced entry via a rear door and stole property including a 42" TV, mobile phone and a laptop computer.

Det Con Emma Francis from Aylesbury Local CID would like to hear from anyone that might have witnessed any recent suspicious activity in the area.  If you have any information please call Det Con Francis via the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre number 101.

If you don't want to speak to the Police or give your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111

 


Burglary - Edlesborough

This article was published in February 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A burglary has been reported at a residential property On Jackson Close, Edlesborough on Sunday 3 February.

Offenders gained entry by smashing a patio door between 8:30am and 5:30pm.  Property stolen included a mobile phone, watch and a TV.

Please remain vigilant and ensure any suspicious activity is reported immediately to the Police.  Try to get a description of them, along with details of any vehicle they may be using, especially the registration number.  Don't leave it to someone else - you may be the only witness.

Also, if you think you might have witnessed anything in relation to this crime please call the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre, for the attention of DC Robinson, Aylesbury Local CID.

If you don't want to speak to the Police or give your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


Safer Internet Day - Feb 5th

This article was published in January 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceAre you a parent, guardian or someone looking after children and concerned about online safety? Then join Bedfordshire Police on Tuesday 5th February at the next international Safer Internet Day (SID) being hosted by Bedford Girls School.

The theme of the day is 'Online rights and responsibilities' and this will be the 10th anniversary of the event.

The FREE session at 7pm Cardington Road in Bedford, is for all parents, guardians or anyone who works with or cares for children and young people, from anywhere in the county.

Led by Bedfordshire Police Children and Young People Development Officer Richard Denton, it is designed to cover all areas of internet safety with practical tips and advice for everyone. Throughout the day the force's 10 top tips for staying safe online will also be sent through Bedfordshire Police twitter feed. Similar events will also be run in Luton and Central Beds over the coming months.

Richard Denton said: "During the last twelve months we have run workshops for over 10,000 children across Bedfordshire looking at issues from unwanted contact, cyber-bullying and indecent images. We have also had the opportunity to run sessions for almost 1000 parents, guardians and other professionals who work with young people."

"The Internet is a fantastic tool and the majority of the time it is a beneficial, fun and educational resource. We just want everyone to apply common sense and a few simple safety measures when using it that is all. Think about who you are talking to, the information you share and how you can maintain your privacy. Keeping children and young people safe online will remain a very important area of work for Bedfordshire Police."

To book a place, please email richard.denton@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk Spaces are limited and will be issued on a first come first serve basis.

To get up to date advice about staying safe online visit www.ThinkUKnow.co.uk If you are concerned about any content or activity on your child's internet and social networking sites then please contact Bedfordshire Police by calling 101.

For more information on Safer Internet Day go to www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day

Bedfordshire Police's top 10 Internet safety tips are:

  1. Visit www.thinkUKnow.co.uk to find out more about keeping safe online.
  2. Look at installing security products that allow parents / carers to block certain websites, implement time limits and monitor activity.
  3. Help your children to understand they should never give out personal details to online friends they do not know offline.  
  1. Explain to your children what information about them is personal: i.e. email address, mobile number, school name, sports club. Small pieces of information can easily be pieced together to form a comprehensive insight in to their lives and daily activities.
  1. Make your children aware that they need to think carefully about the information and pictures they post on their profiles. Inform them that once published online, anyone can change or share these images of them.
  1. It can be easy to forget that the internet is not a private space, and as a result young people sometimes engage in risky behaviour online. Advise your children not to post any pictures, videos or information on their profiles, or in chat rooms, that they would not want a parent or carer to see.
  1. If your child receives spam or junk email and texts, remind them never to believe their contents, reply to them or use them.
  1. It's not a good idea for your child to open files that are from people they don't know. They won't know what they contain—it could be a virus, or worse – an inappropriate image or film.
  1. Help your child to understand that some people lie online and that therefore it's better to keep online mates online. They should never meet up with strangers.
  1. Always keep communication open for a child to know that it's never too late to tell someone if something makes them feel uncomfortable.

A further resource recommended by Alice Johnson is O2's keeping kids safe website.


Force Backs Stolen Catalytic Converter Campaign

This article was published in January 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police is backing a new Crimestoppers' campaign to tackle the issue of stolen catalytic converters or 'Lost CATS' across the eastern region.

There has been a dramatic increase in catalytic converter thefts in the last three years, which can run into thousands of pounds for a victim to replace and can be extremely inconvenient. A catalytic convertor is part of the exhaust system and thieves steal them for the precious metals they contain.

The aim of the charity's campaign is to encourage the public to play their part in giving information about this type of crime – with metal theft as a whole costing the UK economy around £770 million per year. Although metal theft in general is seeing a steady decrease across the eastern region, due to various measures introduced by police, the theft of catalytic converters is still on the increase and can often be connected to other forms of serious and organised crime.

Chief Inspector Shane Roberts says the force is working hard to target people who illegally trade or carry scrap metal. He said: "We are playing our part encouraging members of the public to contact us or Crimestoppers with any information relating to catalytic converter thefts, or any type of metal theft, so we can act robustly and bring offenders to justice.

"We will also be encouraging members of the public to etch their catalytic converter, so if recovered it can be traced back to them. Etching kits are particularly useful for businesses with a number of vehicles to protect.

"Theft of metal wrecks the national infrastructure, affecting utility supplies, rail and phone networks, causing hundreds of pounds of damage and replacement costs when stolen from homes and businesses. When vehicles are attacked and catalytic converters are stolen, this causes huge disruption to individuals and family life. People cannot get to work and lose money as a result, children cannot get to school and any personal plans are wrecked-notwithstanding the cost of replacing and hike in insurance premiums.

"We are all facing tough times financially and any theft of metal causes people personal misery and trouble. Bedfordshire Police takes this very seriously due to the impact that this crime has on people's lives.

 


Wartime Memories Sought for Specials' Centenary

This article was published in January 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police is seeking wartime memories from friends and family of volunteers to mark this year's 100th birthday of the force's Special Constabulary.

The centenary is being celebrated across the force and the Bedfordshire Police Museum has chosen to focus on a group of colleagues who volunteered during the Second World War in the hope of building a treasure trove of memories and artefacts from this time.

During the War the force was considerably strengthened by the recruitment of Reserves. There were different categories including full time paid War Reserve Police Constables, full time paid members of the Women's Auxiliary Police Corps, and the Special Constabulary who were unpaid volunteers. Sadly force records from this time are sparse so attempts are being made to bolster them through the public appeal.

Keith Jackson, a former police Inspector with Bedfordshire Police who now volunteers himself, running the force museum, is driving the appeal to raise awareness about this important part of the organisation's history.

"The centenary is a very proud moment for the force and all its volunteers" he said. "By the end of the war the authorised establishment of the Bedfordshire County Special Constabulary was over 1100 men and to put that figure into some sort of perspective, the authorised establishment of the Regular Constabulary was only 162! Sadly the force records concerning the Special Constabulary are quite sparse so one of the ways of marking our 100th birthday is to gather as much information as possible about the war time service of these volunteers."

"Bedford and Luton were separate forces at that time with their own Special Constabularies, and between 1939 and 1945 every village and town also had their own Specials. They were local men who gave up their free time to fight crime and protect their communities. Whilst the minimum requirement was to work a four hour shift at least fifty times in a year, some of these men gave considerably more often completing between 120 and 150 duties a year in the larger industrial areas."

"To mark the centenary we want to pay tribute to all those who volunteered then and now so I would be grateful to receive any information from former Special Constables who are still alive, or from their descendants. Anecdotes, recollections or documents from the time will be invaluable. Equally, any donation of artefacts to add to the Force Museum collection would also be gratefully received. Please do help us bring this time in our history back to life."

To get in touch with your memories email keith.jackson9159@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk or write to Keith at Bedfordshire Police HQ, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire MK43 9AX.

 


Are You Interested in Becoming a Police Cadet?

This article was published in January 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Police CadetsIf you're interested in a future with the Police, there's no better way to develop the skills, knowledge and experience you'll need than joining Bedfordshire Police Cadets. Our groups in Luton and Kempston are now accepting applications, for places starting in September 2013.   Police Cadets are united by a passion for serving the community and supporting the constabulary. As a Cadet, you'll take part in weekly training sessions, featuring a range of exciting activities. You'll learn fascinating skills as part of a diverse team of people aged 16-18.

What's more, you'll enjoy the opportunity to support Officers carrying out real policing duties at all kinds of public events in Bedfordshire's towns and villages - from Luton Carnival and Bedford River Festival, through to Remembrance Parades.

In return for your dedication, we'll support you to gain recognised qualifications, which will really help your CV to stand out from the crowd.

As you grow in confidence and gain new abilities, you could have the chance to rise through the Cadet ranks, to roles such as Section Leader or Head Cadet. You'll certainly make a visible contribution to your community, and develop a wide range of valuable talents. 

This is the perfect way to explore policing as a career. Many Cadets go on to join the Police full-time, or volunteer to support us as Special Constables. One thing is certain. The experiences you have as a Cadet will help to prepare you for success in any walk of life.

To join our annual September intake – you must be 16 years old by the 1 September 2013.  We've organised two free Information Evenings for potential cadets and/or their parents/carers.

These will be held at Barnfield College, Luton, on 5 February 2013, and Police Headquarters, Kempston, on 12 February 2013.

Both events start at 6:30pm and are a great opportunity to learn more about being a Cadet.

You'll need to book a place in advance. Please either call 01234 842119 or email recruitment@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

 


Security of vehicles during cold weather

This article was published in December 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Thames Valley Police is urging local residents to be vigilant with the security of their vehicles, especially on winter mornings.

During recent cold weather conditions two vehicles have been stolen from Brill on 30 November and Chilton on 1 December. Owners had left the vehicles running to defrost the windscreens and warm the cars up but thieves took advantage and stole the insecure cars.

Motorists are advised to never leave a car unattended in these circumstances. If a vehicle is stolen in this way it is unlikely that your insurance company will pay for the loss of the vehicle.

Visit www.thamesvalley.police.uk for further crime reduction information and advice on vehicle security or call on the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre 101


New Police and Crime Commisioner Named

This article was published in November 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceOn Thursday the 15 November the people of Bedfordshire elected Olly Martins as their Police and Crime Commissioner.

Following the election result Chief Constable Alfred Hitchcock said "I am pleased to welcome Olly Martins as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire. I look forward to building a successful partnership with the Commissioner to fight crime and protect the public".

The Crime Commissioner will take the oath on Monday (19 November) and will formally take office on Thursday (22 November).


Loft insulation scammers in Eaton Bray

This article was published in October 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

We have had a few reports over the last 24 hours that there are loft insulation scammers working through the village. They have visited several people in the village with no ID or knowledge of the company they work for making cold calls asking to check people's loft for insulation.

Fortunately, these people have been vigilant, but residents should be aware, especially pensioners and their families, to be on their guard and not to buy anything based on a cold-call.

If you think you have been a victim of this or a similar scam and would like advice on your rights please call Consumer Direct on 0808 156 2259, or you can call local police on 101.


Voucher Loan Scam Warning

This article was published in October 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police are warning people again to be careful about cash scams which promise easy money.

Officers are dealing with at least two cases where people have applied to a company for a loan, only to be asked to provide money upfront in order to secure it.

Needless to say, after the initial money has been found by hard-up residents, the promised loan never materialises and the applicants are left even worse off than before.

Police are warning people that they should never pay up front for a loan and only deal with reputable companies.

It is not dissimilar to the better known scam of doing a foreign national a favour by receiving money into your bank account on his behalf, or where unsuspecting residents receive notification they have won a lottery. In both cases, in order to secure your share of this free money, you must pay cash up front before you receive the big money, which never arrives.

In the latest swindle, innocent members of the public are being asked to pay up front in Ukash vouchers.

Ukash is a genuine and reputable company which allows cash to be exchanged for a voucher number at a local shop. The voucher can then be used to pay for goods and services over the internet or phone, rather than using a credit card or Paypal.

In the current scams, the fraudster sets up a company offering unsecured loans, similar to the popular short term pay-day loan companies. Aimed at people who would struggle to get credit elsewhere because of poor credit rating, it lures often-desperate people in by offering instant loans.

A couple who applied for a £3000 loan contacted Bedfordshire Police last month, saying they had been told their application to a company called Easy Loan had been successful, and all they needed to do was pay £90 over the phone to the company using Ukash vouchers.  The loan money would then appear in their bank account within 10 minutes.

They provided the voucher number to a person who claimed to be in London – but the loan never arrived in their bank account. The fraudster even had the cheek to ask for another £195 to provide "proof to the government" – which luckily was not paid.  

PC Angelina Aylward, of the Local Policing Operations team in Bedford, said: "It's the second case in a short space of time I've dealt with and I'm sure these are not the only two. The police are in a difficult position as the victim only contacts the police once an incident has occurred. I felt extremely sorry for the couple that came to the police station and feel that it's important that we raise awareness." 

Any other victims in the area who have not reported this to the police should contact www.actionfraud.org.uk the government agency responsible for investigating and recording lower-scale fraud and scams. Action Fraud can also be contacted via telephone on 0300 1232040.  Ukash can also be contacted for advice on 0808 2346244 or via www.Ukash.com. Both organisations advise never to pay up front for a loan and never use Ukash vouchers to pay for something in this way.


Bedfordshire continues to become a safer place to live new figures reveal

This article was published in September 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire's outgoing Police Authority has welcomed the optimistic start made to 2012/13 which has seen crime levels continue to fall across many areas.

Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock told members that overall crime has continued to plummet 16% so far this year - on top of a highly successful 12 months which resulted in large reductions and dramatic improvements in the force's national rankings in most major crime categories.

Since April, domestic burglary - a key priority in the force's Policing Plan because of the importance placed on it by the public in Bedfordshire – has dropped 12% which is an exceptional achievement on the back of the 20% reduction achieved last year. Meanwhile, robbery has fallen by 10%, vehicle crime by 17%, violence against the person by 19% and most serious violence by 30%.

The continued success is partly due to changes in the way the force is focusing on and investigating crime. Members have been told the Integrated Offender Management Scheme is providing an increasingly powerful system of monitoring the most prolific offenders and encouraging a co-ordinated approach between local agencies to have the optimum effect on re-offending rates. Meanwhile, changes to the way in which the control room operates including the introduction of a new appointment system for non-emergency appointments is bringing significant benefits to resource management. This initiative enables police officers to meet victims and witnesses at times convenient to them to resolve non-urgent issues.

The Force and Authority has also focused heavily on anti-social behaviour, recognising its impact on the quality of life in our communities and the role it plays in the public's perception of safety. A new pilot is currently taking place in Luton which is aimed at delivering further positive results and improving the experience of members of the public reporting these offences.

Peter Conniff, chairman of Bedfordshire Police Authority, said: "The progress made so far this year is extremely positive and reassures this Authority that the raft of changes introduced to streamline the way the force operates as a result of financial pressures are delivering impressive results. It is only by achieving these improvements to the public's outcomes, through reduced crime and more detections, whilst cutting costs that we can be confident that the policing service in Bedfordshire will be valued by our communities.

"However, we are never complacent when it comes to performance, especially when we are talking about figures that have been recorded very early in the year, and will continue to play our part in monitoring crime levels and detection results to improve standards further to ensure the incoming Police and Crime Commissioner has the best possible platform to build on for future success."

Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock added: "I'm delighted that crime has continued to fall but this isn't really about numbers and statistics, it's about Bedfordshire residents not coming home to find they have been burgled or the windows of their car smashed. All our staff have worked hard, along with the other agencies that we work alongside, to achieve this. I'm particularly pleased considering we've had some big challenges to face in the last 12 months, and will continue to face them as we strive to improve even more in the next six months."


Back to School 'Stay Safe' Advice

This article was published in September 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceStudents are being reminded to 'Stay Safe' on their journeys to and from school now the mornings are getting darker as the new term gets underway.       

Plenty of tips and advice on personal safety have been handed out by local police teams at events aimed at young people during the summer holidays and this work continues throughout the new academic year as part of Bedfordshire Police's continued work with schools and educational establishments.

Richard Denton, Children and Young People Development Officer and School Coordinator for Bedfordshire Police said: "For the vast majority of pupils the journey to and from school is safe and uneventful, however, some young people tell us they have concerns about personal safety, who we continue to help."

Whether walking, cycling or taking public transport to get to school, youngsters are getting the best start they can by following our simple advice. We actively encourage parents and guardians to discuss personal safety with their children and any other concerns they may have. This will improve their confidence and help ensure a safe, enjoyable start to the school year for everyone." 

Personal Safety advice includes:

  • If possible walk with a friend or group of friends.
  • Stay alert - Keep an eye on everything that is happening around you.
  • Avoid wearing earphones or chatting on your mobile phone, as this will distract you from your surroundings and you may not see or hear trouble approaching. The sooner you are aware of potential danger, the easier it is to avoid it.
  • Keep both hands free and don't weigh your-self down with lots of heavy bags - you need to be able to move easily.
  • Trust your instincts – If you have a 'funny feeling' about someone or something, don't ignore it, act on it straight away.
  • Take the route you know best and stick to busy, well-lit streets.
  • Walk in the middle of the pavement, facing oncoming traffic. This will avoid any cars driving up alongside you as you walk.
  • Think about your route home. Where would be a safe place to go if something went wrong? Safe places might be busy places like shops or garages, friends' houses or a police station.
  • Have your keys ready so you can get into your home quickly.
  • If using public transport always wait for a bus or train in a well-lit place and near other people if possible.
  • Try to sit near the driver or guard and make sure you can see as much of the bus deck or carriage as possible.
  • Have your travel pass/correct change ready, so that your purse or wallet stays out of sight.
  • Always give away your bag, purse or wallet rather than fighting to keep it. Your things can be replaced – you can't.
  • Your voice can be one of your best forms of defence. Don't be embarrassed to make as much noise as possible to attract attention.
  • If you are on a bus or train you can press the alarm. Train platforms have telephones situated at the Help Points – these will connect you immediately to the British Transport Police or station staff.
  • You could also phone 999. The operator will ask for name, address, emergency you require – give the information as clearly as you can and ask for the police.

Make sure your phone and other valuables are security marked and registered on http://www.immobilise.com/ you may also wish to consider downloading a tracking application for phones and computers. These applications can be traced should your phone be stolen and may help the police track down offenders so your property can be returned.


Burglary - High Street, Eaton Bray

This article was published in August 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police Messaging

Incident Type: Burglary.
Location: High Street, Eaton Bray.
Date and Time: The offence took place between 00:30am and 08:00am on 3 August.
Crime Reference: J D / 2 6 9 7 8 / 2012.

Incident Details:

Residents are being asked to review the security of all doors and windows,  after a burglary took place in High Street, Eaton Bray.

The offender has entered the property by unknown means.  A tidy search has been made and a purse, wallet, keys and phone have all been removed from the kitchen.

Crime Reduction Advice:

Make sure that the front of the house is in clear view from the street.

Make your boundaries difficult or impossible to climb over.

Keep Doors and Windows locked at all times.  Remove all keys from the locks and keep them in a safe place out of view.

Keep hallways clear of valuables like keys, handbags and laptop where they may be seen.

Check that side gates are locked.  Keep bins, ladders and garden furniture locked away.

If your house will be empty after dark leave a light on or set a timer.                     

A radio set to a talking channel will give the impression that someone is in the house.

Source: Ringmaster


Water Board Advice - Door Step Security

This article was published in July 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceThe next time someone knocks on your door and says they are from Anglian Water, we'd like you to take just a little of your time to double-check their identity before you let them in.

Bogus callers may claim to be from Anglian Water or even from 'the water board' and they might look quite convincing too, but you can find out for sure with one quick free phonecall.

Please take their card and close the door while you call us, any time of day or night, on 0800 145 145.

You will be given a description of the person at your door and a unique number. If the caller can not give you the number then they are not a genuine Anglia Water Empoyee.

Close the door and call the Police immediately.

For further details please visit:
http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/household/special-assistance/bogus-callers/


Beds Police Authority Announcement on Organisational Support

This article was published in June 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police Authority have agreed to commission further work to examine the option of outsourcing the delivery of support services across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

In parallel, the Police Authority also instructed Bedfordshire's Chief Constable to develop and take forward, in consultation with the Police Authority, a second option in the best interests of Bedfordshire which can be developed to full business case. In both cases they also agreed that the final decision will be taken by Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner when appointed in November this year.

For the outsourcing proposal to move forward as recommended by the three Chief Constables, it needs the agreement of each police authority. Hertfordshire Police Authority agreed to commission the work at their meeting earlier this week (Monday, 25 June), while Cambridgeshire Police Authority met yesterday (Thursday June, 28) to consider the recommendation.

The move comes as part of the on-going collaboration between Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Constabulary which, along with the three police authorities, have established a Strategic Policing Alliance.

The business case will examine in detail the outsourcing of these services through the existing Lincolnshire Police contract, which has G4S as the supplier.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Outsourcing to be Considered to Protect Frontline Policing

This article was published in June 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Outsourcing of police support services in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire is being considered as part of continuing efforts to tackle the £73 million shortfall in police funding for the three counties.

Police Authority members in the three counties will be asked to consider later this month (June) how services including HR, finance and ICT could be outsourced in future as part of a joint recommendation made by the three chief constables.

The move comes as part of the on-going collaboration between Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Constabulary. 

A recommendation that a full business case should be developed to scrutinise this proposal in more detail was discussed on Wednesday (May 30) by the Police Authorities Joint Collaboration Working Group.

As a result, it was agreed that each of the three Police Authorities will be asked in late June to consider formally the commissioning of a Full Business Case for outsourcing support services through the existing Lincolnshire Police framework, with G4S as the supplier.

If agreed by all three police authorities, the earliest that outsourced services could be in place would be April 2013.


Does THAT Car Belong In Your Street?

This article was published in June 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police are urging residents to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious or abandoned vehicles in their area.

In recent week there has been a slight increase in burglaries across the county where thieves are looking for car keys to steal the homeowner's vehicle.

For most people, a car is the most expensive possession that they own and for this reason detectives are keen to reunite stolen property with their rightful owners as quickly as possible.

Newer cars generally have a security system in place which makes it almost impossible for the vehicle to be stolen without the keys. For that reason, thieves are committing burglaries specifically to steal car keys and any other valuables that are nearby.

To help reduce the risk of car theft, Bedfordshire Police is urging motorists not to leave their car keys or valuables anywhere where they can be easily seen from outside or within range to be 'fished' through the letterbox.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Vesztrocy said: "One of the greatest tools that Bedfordshire Police has in fighting crime and protecting the public is the 550,000 pairs of eyes and ears that belong to the residents.

"As we continue with our attempt to lower auto burglaries I would ask for the public to remain vigilant and not to hesitate for a moment to report anything suspicious. Have you seen anyone paying particular attention to cars or houses in your road? Is there a car parked up that isn't ordinarily in your street? Have you seen somebody driving a car that isn't theirs? If so, let us know."

If you have information relating to burglaries, vehicle theft or have spotted an abandoned vehicle in your street, contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on the non emergency number 101, or text information to 07786 200011.

Alternatively contact independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


International Missing Childrens Day 25 May 2012

This article was published in May 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceOn International Missing Children's Day (25 May) a new free helpline (116 000) and website (www.missingkids.co.uk) will be launched to help the hundreds of thousands of children who go missing every year, reconnect to a place of safety, bringing together the combined efforts of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT) and Missing People.

The confidential helpline - 116000 - is a 24 hour support service which missing children and their families can call or text to get access to advice and support.

The website will provide: 
The latest appeals on missing children; information for children who are missing or who are thinking of running away; and information on what their families and carers can do if a child in their care goes missing.

Both initiatives are a response to the Government's Missing Children and Adults Strategy, launched in December 2011.
The launch of these new services will be the focus of a formal Downing Street reception on Wednesday 23 May. Hosted by the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Theresa May, supporters and campaigners will be joined by key organisations and celebrities in order to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of children who go missing every year.

The launch of the 116 000 helpline, provided by Missing People, will be supported by a TV, cinema and outdoor advertising campaign by creative agency BBH, which has been made possible thanks to the generous support of ICAP, Cinema Exhibitors Association and the Outdoor Media Centre and its members. On 25 May, hundreds of London taxis will raise awareness of missing children with appeals in the back of their cabs organised by PACT, including for Andrew Gosden, who went missing in September 2007 at the age of 14. He was last seen at London's Kings Cross Station.

The new www.missingkids.co.uk website, brings together a range of support services connected to helping missing children, including educational materials developed by CEOP. It is part of their work in providing a dedicated national lead on missing children, announced by the Home Secretary in 2011. The launch of the website is being supported by an outdoor advertising campaign organised by PACT that will include bus shelters, where young, missing children may well see the important messages around these vital support services. 

In the lead up to events surrounding International Missing Children's Day, Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone met with young people to hear about their experiences of running away and going missing. During a visit to The Children's Society in Islington last week, she met with the teenagers, who have been supported by the charity's work around the country.

As part of the Government's continued commitment to providing support for families of missing children and adults, the Home Office continue to provide grant funding to support delivery of the charity's helpline and case publicity work. This has been £220,000 during this financial year.

Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equalities and Criminal Information said:

"Missing children and their families are vulnerable, and International Missing Children's Day reminds us of the role we all have to play in protecting and supporting them.

"Government has set a clear direction for this with our Missing Children and Adults strategy, calling on local and national organisations to prevent, protect and provide support for missing children and their families.

"I am delighted to be marking this year's event by supporting the launch of two excellent support services which will offer real support to children who need it."

Peter Davies, Chief Executive at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre said:

"By the very act of going missing, children are made more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.  Getting timely and relevant help and information to missing children and their families is a vital part of safeguarding those most vulnerable.  The new website and help line do just that by providing the channels for them to reconnect to a place of safety. 

"As the national law enforcement lead for missing children, it is important that CEOP continues to better understand the reasons why children go missing and work with the child protection community as a whole, to help them find help to deal with the often complex underlying issues in their lives, ultimately reducing the incidences of missing children in the UK."

Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive of Missing People says:

"Disappearances such as Madeleine McCann's tragically demonstrated the need for coordination across the world when a child goes missing; 116 000 is introduced so that people can call when someone disappears regardless of which EU country they are in. The launch in the UK has been made possible by ICAP."

The Founder and Chief Executive of PACT, Lady Catherine Meyer, said:

"With over 140,000 children going missing in the UK each year – more than one every five minutes – PACT is delighted with this major breakthrough.  With the re-launch of the Missingkids website, and CEOP's taking responsibility for and abducted children, we finally have the tools to bring hope to those whose children have gone missing or been abducted.

"The important thing now is to raise public awareness of the website. This is why, thanks to the support of ICAP Charity Day, PACT is producing hundreds of posters. It has also commissioned a fleet of specially branded black cabs to drop off and pick up guests at a No. 10 Downing Street reception to mark International Missing Children's Day, to be hosted by the Home Secretary, the Right Hon Theresa May"


Police Back Walk To School Week

This article was published in May 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police will be supporting the national Walk to School Week which runs from Monday May 21 until Friday May 25. 

Members of Local Policing Teams will be attending a number of schools across the county to talk to students about the importance of road safety awareness, reinforcing key personal safety messages and also assisting some schools that operate walking buses and park and stride schemes.

Richard Denton, the Children & Young People Development Officer and School Coordinator for Bedfordshire Police said: "Whilst this type of work is undertaken throughout the year we would like to use this week to ask parents, guardians and careers who need to drive their children to school to try and park away from the school in a safe place and walk the last few hundred yards as this may help stop traffic congestion and potential collisions outside schools.

"We will also be using this week to reinforce key personal safety messages to students walking to school to help them keep safe."

Personal Safety advice for students walking to school and other educational establishments 

  • If possible walk with a friend or group of friends.
  • Stay alert – Keep an eye on everything that is happening around you.
  • Avoid wearing earphones or chatting on your mobile phone, as this will distract you from your surroundings and you may not see or hear trouble approaching. The sooner you are aware of potential danger, the easier it is to avoid it.
  • Keep both hands free and don't weigh your-self down with lots of heavy bags – you need to be able to move easily.
  • Trust your instincts – If you have a 'funny feeling' about someone or something, don't ignore it, act on it straight away.
  • Take the route you know best and stick to busy, well-lit streets.
  • Avoid danger spots like deserted parks and badly-lit areas.
  • Walk in the middle of the pavement, facing oncoming traffic. This will avoid any cars driving up alongside you as you walk.
  • Think about your route home. Where would be a safe place to go if something went wrong? Safe places might be busy places like shops or garages, friends' houses or a police station.
  • Have your keys ready so you can get into your home quickly.

 To find out more about Walk to School week visit http://www.walktoschool.org.uk/


Police Appeal after Red Kites Illegally Poisoned in the Chilterns

This article was published in May 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Red KiteHertfordshire and Bedfordshire Police are appealing for information following the illegal poisoning of two rare red kites less than a mile apart in the Chilterns. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction.

In January 2012, Hertfordshire Police assisted by officers from the RSPB recovered a dead red kite just south of the village of Hexton. The bird had been found by a member of the public out with her young family close to a public footpath.

In March, following a second report from the public, officers from the RSPB recovered a second dead red kite hanging in a bush less than a mile away on the Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve which is run by the Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust.

Subsequent toxicological tests confirmed both birds had been poisoned with a highly toxic banned pesticide.  It is suspected both birds had been feeding on carrion placed in the countryside and illegally laced with the chemical.

 

On May 2, 2012, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Police, in conjunction with officers from Natural England, the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), Trading Standards and the RSPB, undertook a search in the area including a number of outbuildings. A number of samples were taken and will be submitted for further toxicological tests.

Sergeant Jamie Bartlett from Hertfordshire Constabulary's Rural Operational Support Team said: We are appealing to anybody who may have more information about the deaths of these birds. The use of poison in these circumstances is highly irresponsible and indiscriminate. The pesticide used is highly toxic and the potential for injury to members of the public or their pets could have been high.

"We take matters such as this very seriously and urge people to come forward with any information that could assist us to progress this matter. Working with various partner agencies in this case is proving to be very useful."

Guy Shorrock, Investigations Officer with the RSPB added: "The reintroduction of red kites has been a fantastic success story and the expansion of the population into Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire has allowed more people to see these amazing birds.  Unfortunately, every year we get tragic incidents like this.  Illegally placing poison in the countryside puts wildlife, domestic animals and potentially members of the public at risk.  We would urge anyone with information about this or other wildlife crime to contact the police".

 

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Sergeant Jamie Bartlett on the non-emergency number 101.  Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. You do not have to give your name and you could be entitled to a cash reward.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Man killed in glider crash

This article was published in April 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A member of the London Gliding Club in Dunstable has died after the glider he was flying crashed into a field in Eaton Bray earlier this afternoon (30 April 2012).

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) were alerted shortly after 2.30pm to Harling Road. A fast response car, ambulance and an operations manager attended the scene, and due to the nature of the call, an air ambulance from South Central Ambulance Service was also sent to assist at the scene.

Ambulance spokesman Gary Sanderson said: "First and foremost our thoughts are firmly with the man's family at this tragic time." He added: "It was evident that nothing could be done on our arrival and the man was pronounced dead shortly after."

Bedfordshire Police said they were alerted by the ambulance service just after 2.30pm, and a road block was set up in the area. A force spokeswoman confirmed the Air Accidents Investigation Branch had launched an investigation.

Speaking this afternoon, Andrew Selous MP said: "I want to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the man who was killed when his glider crashed in Eaton Bray this afternoon, and I will be looking to see that all lessons are learnt from this sad incident so that we can avoid any sad tragedy in future"


New Equipment For Armed Response Vehicles

This article was published in April 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

ARVA simple but effective idea should save time and money when it's rolled out across the collaborated Armed Policing Unit in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

As well as two or three firearms officers, each Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) currently has to carry a mobile armoury in the cabin which houses the firearms when not in use; and a vast array of equipment in the boot of the car.

Using his experience as a firearms officer and position as the unit's Head of Collaborative Fleet,
Sgt Matt Stein of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Firearms Support Unit has worked with Thames Valley Police, Volvo and an engineering company, Safeguard, to design and produce a new purpose built load carrier for the ARV's.

The load carrier system will have modular storage for all the equipment firearms officers carry and an integral safe for the weapons - all stowed in the boot.

As well as Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, Thames Valley Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary will also use the new carriers.

Not only is the new design easier to use, it is Volvo approved and fully compliant with health and safety by having the mobile armoury more securely stored in the boot. The modular design can be dismantled and re-built into any vehicles likely to be used by the Armed Policing Unit – saving each of the four participating forces £30,000 over the next ten years.   

The load carrier system will start appearing very soon as it gets built into the high performance diesel Volvo V70 D5's, which will be gradually coming on line to serve as ARV's across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Thames Valley. These forces are part of the Chiltern Transport Consortium who also assisted in the design process.

Although Cambridgeshire are currently using Volvos, the other forces have a variety of petrol vehicles in use as ARVs and the change to diesel is coming to Beds, Herts and TVP to cut both fuel costs and carbon footprint.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Bedfordshire Police: Making Contact: March 2012

This article was published in March 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police Authority: Making Contact
Issue 17 - March 2012

Policing in Bedfordshire is entering a new era and this newsletter also aims to keep the public and our partners up to date with the latest developments on the transition to Police and Crime Commissioners.

1. The Budget

Last month, Bedfordshire Police Authority voted to increase the portion of council tax residents pay towards policing next year by 3.95%. The decision was taken to reduce further cuts to the front line and to provide the Force with the capacity to meet future challenges.

The increase means households will pay an extra £5.72 a year for the average Band D property (11p per week).

The Authority decided against accepting the Government's offer of a one-off grant on the basis that this would have brought funding shortfalls in the future and inevitably resulted in more cuts to Police Officer and staff posts in the next two years. Although some Police Officer posts must still be lost as the Authority tries to identify £5.6m of savings this year, the additional income from council tax will provide greater financial security in the future.

Feedback gathered during consultation events suggested the majority of residents supported a small rise in council tax to strengthen local policing. In our online budget survey, 65% said they would prefer to see performance safeguarded through a precept increase.

The total budget for the Force next year was agreed at £100.637m. We recognise the difficulties that economic pressures are having on our hardworking families however this decision has been taken with their safety in mind and will ensure we can respond when needed.

2. Strategic Plan

Bedfordshire Police Authority has drawn up a plan which sets out how the Force aims to make the county safer over the next four years in the face of a severe funding shortfall. The Strategic Plan 2012-16 incorporates the priorities and concerns raised by the public during consultation and spells out how the Force intends to address them. To view a summary of what residents told us click this link www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk/You-Said.html

The four main performance goals developed by Police Authority members and the public in 2010 continue to form the basis of the plan. These are: protection of life, protection from violence, protection of property and protection from disorder. These goals will drive all areas of policing, even those services which are carried out on a collaborative basis with other Police Forces. The overall aim for each will be to drive down offences and improve detection rates as well as increase the satisfaction of victims.

Anti-social behaviour remains a key priority for the Force but it is not just a police issue. Tackling it requires a holistic approach so we work closely with other organisations including criminal justice agencies, local councils and the voluntary community sector to address problem areas.

We are aware of the need to improve the satisfaction of those who have to use police services because they are victims of crime. This year the police will put in place new systems to make sure victims receive regular contact, detailed updates and increased service quality.

In the foreseeable future the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner will take over the mantle and become the victims' champion, and will engage the full range of local services to address key issues.

During the next four years, Bedfordshire's police service also aims to deliver further value for money for council taxpayers. We are already heavily involved in collaborative work which has reduced costs considerably and improved resilience. We will continue to deliver large savings by radically changing how our support functions (human resources, finance and training) are organised and by cutting our spending on goods and services.

We would like to thank those partners who contributed to the consultation which shaped the 2012-16 Strategic Plan and to the public whose feedback informed the priorities set.

3. Transition to Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)

Arrangements are already well underway in Bedfordshire to lay down the foundations for the new Police and Crime Commissioner, who will replace the Police Authority from November 2012. The PCC will fulfil an important role for the public, not only ensuring the Force operates efficiently and effectively but also by holding the Chief Constable to account.

The Police Authority and the Force's Chief Officer Team are working hard to ensure all the necessary preparations are made for the PCC to take up their post. Our aim is to create a smooth transition to the new structure to avoid any impact on performance which is one reason why members have voted to increase the council tax precept to provide a stable financial platform. A number of workshop events have taken place across England and Wales to help local police representatives and partner organisations prepare for the PCC.

In addition, the Government is expected to announce secondary legislation later this month which will give further guidance on the implementation of Police and Crime Panels. Police and Crime Panels (PCPs) are a key feature in the new system, formed to hold the Commissioner to account on behalf of the public and provide a "check and balance" role. The legislation is expected to cover the duties of PCPs such as its power of veto over various issues including the Commissioner's proposed precept and the Chief Constable's appointment process.

It will also set out regulations for the process of nomination and the appointment of local authority members on PCPs. Two co-opted Members will also be appointed by the Councillor members of the Panel. The Panel may co-opt additional members including extra councillors provided the Panel does not exceed 20 members and the Home Secretary agrees to the increased size of the Panel. Bedford Borough will host Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Panel.

Bedfordshire is in the process of finalising its PCC information packs which will be helpful to anyone considering applying for the role of the PCC. More information can be found on the dedicated section of our website http://www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk/PCC-&-Police-Reform.html and the Home Office has also published an information booklet for potential candidates available at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/police/pcc/have-got-what-takes/got-what-it-takes.

4. Elections

Residents will be able to vote for Bedfordshire's first PCC on November 15 2012. More information on the election process is due to be announced by the Home Office later in April. The elections will use the supplementary voting system which is currently used to elect mayors, the closest existing role to PCCs. Under this system, voters are asked to indicate first and second preferences. Candidates are elected if they gain more than 50% of the first preference votes. If not, all but the top two candidates are eliminated and the second preferences from everyone who voted for an eliminated candidate are added to the totals of the top two candidates. The candidate who receives the most votes wins and becomes the Police and Crime Commissioner. The idea of this system is that it encourages conciliatory campaigning, as candidates will still want the second preference votes from residents whose first choice is for another candidate.

5. Performance success

Bedfordshire Police Authority prides itself on listening to the public and understanding their needs and has welcomed new performance figures which show the Force is meeting its promises to address the crimes which matter most to them.

Burglary was identified as a top priority for residents throughout 2011 and was listed as such in the Strategic Plan. Figures now show the action taken to address this crime has resulted in two fewer burglary offences per day over the last year (from 10.7 per day in 2010 to 8.7 between April 2011 and March 2012). Meanwhile, police are also solving a greater number of burglary offences, from 16% in 2010/11 to 21% in 2011/12.

The picture is equally as positive for overall crime, with almost five fewer offences being recorded per day during the same period (meaning 2,800 fewer victims). Bedfordshire Police has also maintained its improved national rank positions in all of its priority detection categories compared to last year which means our communities are not only safer, they are also receiving a better service in the investigation and detection of the crimes.

By continuing to address the issues and concerns of the public and driving down crime rates, confidence in local policing will improve and more people will be satisfied with our service.

6. Major Policing Event

It is possible that there may be an English Defence League event in Luton in May. The Force is seeking legal advice around all of the issues associated with any march or demonstration particularly knowing the impact this type of event has on the community, both socially and in terms of financial loss.

Bedfordshire Police are very aware of the fear and concern people have based on the community impact assessments already carried out. They are making it a priority to talk to and seek opinions from everyone affected by the proposed event and they are in daily contact with Luton Borough Council, community and faith leaders. The Force is keen to reassure the residents of Bedfordshire that whatever course of action is taken by the police it will be firm, fair, focussed and effective on the day.

And finally...

If you know of anyone who may like to receive a copy of this, please forward this email - and please copy us in so that we can include their address on our distribution list.

If you have any questions about any of the articles in this newsletter, or indeed any other area of our responsibilities, then please get in touch.

For further information or to contact us

Bedfordshire Police Authority
Bridgebury House, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK43 9AX.

Tel: 01234 842066
Email: info@bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk
Web: www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

Bedfordshire Police Authority

Source: Bedfordshire Police Authority


Police Deliver on Promise to Drive Down Burglary

This article was published in February 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PolicePolice in Bedfordshire have honoured their pledge to tackle the crimes that matter most to the public, latest performance figures show.

Last year, Bedfordshire Police Authority ran a number of consultation exercises to gather feedback about the crimes which ranked highest on residents' lists of priorities for the Force.

In one survey, 41 percent of respondents said they wanted police to concentrate on cutting domestic burglaries rates in the county which have a devastating emotional impact on their victims.

In a later questionnaire, a quarter of residents again placed domestic burglary as their top concern, significantly higher than any other single offence. As a result, Bedfordshire Police Authority ensured burglary was listed as a top priority in its Strategic Plan and that action was drawn up to target this type of crime.

And now latest figures show the Authority and Force's efforts to address burglary rates across the county are already bearing fruit. Two fewer burglary offences took place in the county per day between April and December 2011 (from 10.7 per day in 2010 to 8.4 in the first nine months of this year). Meanwhile, police are also detecting a greater number of burglary offences, from 16 percent between April and December 2010 to 20% in the same period last year.

Overall crime also fell at a rate of almost five fewer offences per day, from 119.5 between April and December 2010 to 115.2 in the same period last year. In addition, robbery rates – which also featured high on the public's list of priorities – also saw improvements as well as its detection rate.

Penny Fletcher chairman of Bedfordshire Police Authority's Performance Scrutiny Committee said: "These figures are extremely encouraging and show the public that we have not only listened to them but are also delivering on the actions we outlined in our Strategic Plan. Our communities play a huge role in the way we set our policing agenda and these results show that making the effort to tell us what you think can have a real impact on our operational decisions.

"Both the Police Authority and the Force are constantly striving to improve the service the public receives whether this is in the way we deal with victims of crime or the way we listen to the problems which concern our communities. By closing the gap between public expectations and performance we will hopefully improve satisfaction levels in local policing and ensure confidence continues to grow in the Force.

"Bedfordshire Police has maintained its improved national rank positions in all of its priority detection categories compared to last year which means our communities are not only safer, they are also receiving a better service in the investigation and detection of the crimes which take place in the county. By continuing to place the needs of residents at the heart of our decisions, I am confident we will continue to bring further reductions and service improvements in the future."

Further consultation this year has again identified domestic burglary as an ongoing concern for residents and as such it will feature prominently again in this year's Plan.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Quarterly Crime Update

This article was published in January 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceQuarterly crime figures published show overall levels in Bedfordshire for the 12 months to September 2011 are below the England and Wales average at 70 crimes per 1000 people compared to 74 crimes per 1000 people in England and Wales.

Results of the British Crime Survey, which have also been made available, show Bedfordshire's victim satisfaction rates are currently showing an improving trend. The latest local data shows an improvement from 79% satisfaction in the 12 months to October 2010 to 82% in the 12 months to October 2011.

Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock said: "We note the recent report comparing figures to September 2011 and these represent an historic snapshot of where the Force was in 2010 and part of 2011 policing years. The Force is working hard to drive down those crimes that most harm communities including burglary, robbery and MSV (Most Serious Violence) as well as bringing to justice those responsible. The figure to the end of December shows our continuing success in reversing previous trends and we remain committed to fighting crime and protecting the public."

The figures show crime levels in Bedfordshire have fallen in a number of crime categories – there has been a 25% reduction in "Sexual Offences", a 9% reduction in "Offences against Vehicles", a 6% reduction in "Criminal Damage" and a 24% reduction in "Other Offences". Bedfordshire currently has the lowest rate of "Sexual Offences" in England and Wales.

There has been a 12% increase in "Violence against the person – without Injury" in Bedfordshire. However, Bedfordshire is still below the England and Wales average for this offence category at 7.3 crimes per 1000 people compared to the England and Wales rate of 7.7 crimes per 1000 people. Bedfordshire is also similar to the England and Wales crime rate for overall "Violence against the person" and for "Violence against the person – with Injury".

Bedfordshire's Domestic Burglary rate was 14.6 crimes per 1000 households compared to an England and Wales average of 11 crimes per 1000 households. This remains a priority for the force and rates for the period April to December 2011 are 19% lower than the period in April to December 2010 and the detection rate for Domestic Burglary has improved from 16% to 21%.

While the quarterly figures published show Bedfordshire had one of the highest Robbery levels in England and Wales in the 12 month period to September 2011 this equates to a Robbery rate of 1.3 crimes per 1000 people. Bedfordshire's robbery level has remained unchanged in comparison to the previous 12 month period compared to a 4% increase in England and Wales. Robbery rates for the period April to December 2011 are 6% lower than the period in April to December 2010 and the detection rate for Robbery has improved from 19% to 23%.

Bedfordshire has a below average rate of recorded drug offences at 2.7 crimes per 1000 population compared to 4.2 crimes per 1000 people in England and Wales.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Driving home the message to young people in Central Bedfordshire

This article was published in January 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterTeenagers can have a bad reputation when it comes to cars - some drive too fast and they haven't got the experience of more mature motorists.

But two new courses aimed at giving young drivers the skills they need before they venture onto the area's roads could change all that.

Supported by Central Bedfordshire Council in partnership with their Highways Contractor Amey, the courses will be running in January and March.

Having already proved popular in the past, the MORE 16 and MORE Drive programmes target young people in Central Bedfordshire , aged between 16 and 24 and offer three workshops on driving skills, maintenance and safety before they start learning to drive.

The workshops are run by vehicle inspectors and collision investigators from Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service, Three Shires Driving School and Bedford's Millbrook proving ground and offer real-life experience from professionals at the top of their field.

The MORE 16 programme, which will be running on Saturday 28 January and Saturday 3 March, is aimed at 16 year-olds and offers them their first taste of driving on a Millbrook track. The course also offers guidance to parents on choosing a driving instructor and how to help their teens when practising. As an incentive for parents to attend, they receive a high-speed passenger ride around a track with a Millbrook pro-driver with competition history in motorsport such as Rallying or Racing.

The MORE Drive programme, which will run on Sunday 29 January and Sunday 4 March, offers 17 to 24 year-olds, who have passed their driving test, the chance to drive on a skid pan and experience ABS braking systems as well as practising emergency stops at speed to demonstrate the distance it takes to stop at varying speeds.

Elliott Viola, who has already taken part in a course, said: "What will stay with me is what not to do while driving - like speeding, drinking alcohol, or being on a mobile phone - and making sure that you are in charge, not someone else trying to influence you."

Councillor Budge Wells, Deputy Executive Member for Sustainable Communities Services, said: "These programmes offer a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn new skills and improve their driving ability.

"I'm delighted that we can offer these opportunities across Central Bedfordshire. Having attended MORE Drive, I have seen how much everyone took away with them and hope we have even more young people attend the future events."

For more information on either the MORE 16 or MORE Drive programmes, or to attend events next year, email roadsafety@amey.co.uk.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Make Sure You Stay Safe This Christmas and New Year

This article was published in December 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterIt's that time of year again…..Christmas parties, office functions and so much food you don't know which way to turn and of course alcohol.

Bedfordshire Police would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy New Year but would also like to take the opportunity to warn party goers about the dangers of excess alcohol.

"Many of us don't really indulge during the year as much as we do during the festive season and the consequences of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can be severe", warns Superintendent Dave Boyle, who is heading this year's Christmas and New Year safety campaign.

"I would like to remind members of the public not only to consider the drink drive laws and driving the day after a night out, but to take extra precautions about their personal safety when they are out enjoying themselves," he added.

Here are some easy safety tips that members of the public can follow to help keep them safe over the festive period:

  • We all like to plan a night out but make sure you also plan how to get home safely.
  • When out with friend's stay with them, stay together and stay safe.
  • Watch what you are drinking – keep an eye on how much and what you are drinking.
  • Always use a reputable taxi service and never get into a taxi which has not been ordered by you or is not displaying the Hackney licence details.
  • And don't forget a good night out deserves remembering, have fun, be safe, hold on to your smile and walk away from any trouble.

Bedfordshire Police will be running Christmas initiatives throughout the festive season in the towns and busy areas throughout the county and together with their partners will crackdown on those being anti social whilst keeping an eye out for anyone who has over indulged and needs help.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Don't Let Jack Frost Assist Car Thieves

This article was published in December 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police are urging vehicle owners across the county to think twice about leaving their cars running outside their homes while unattended.

With the weather starting to turn a bit nippier, it is tempting for motorists to start their vehicles to warm them up before heading off on their journey. This means that vehicles are often left unattended which offers easy pickings for opportunist thieves.

This week there have been two incident in the Leighton Buzzard area where motorists have been left car-less after leaving their running vehicles unattended. The first happened at 8am on Monday December 19 when a Vauxhall Astra was stolen from outside a property in Bideford Green, Linslade as the owner cleared frost form the windscreen. About 20 minutes later, a similar incident occurred in North Court, Leighton Buzzard, when a Nissan Qashqai was taken.

Chief Inspector Neill Waring of Bedfordshire Police, said: "I know that it can be very tempting for people to wait in nice, warm houses as their cars defrost but thieves have become wise. You have to ask yourself whether it is really worth the risk of losing your vehicle.

"The last thing that we want is for people to make things easy for criminals - there are plenty of products on the market to prevent frost or remove it quickly but the best way, by far, is to stay with your vehicle while it is being defrosted, and it's free."

Bedfordshire PoliceFor more advice about how to secure your vehicles and property, please visit the 'crime info' section of our website.

If you have information relating to these incidents, contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on 01234 841212, the non emergency number 101, or text information to 07786 200011.

Alternatively contact independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Bedfordshire Police: Making Contact: December 2011

This article was published in December 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police Authority: Making Contact
Issue 16 - December 2011

We started 2011 with a new Chief Constable, whose leadership is ensuring performance improvements where it matters most. We have seen Bedfordshire Police successfully tackling crime on both a large and smaller scale. We have been assessed as delivering value for money in challenging financial times, and we have been judged to be well prepared to meet the savings target. However, regretfully, to achieve the necessary savings we have been faced with some difficult decisions which have seen our organisations losing valued members of staff.

We have seen Parliament agree to abolish Police Authorities and replace them with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners and we are now working flat out with our partners to ensure that this is a success. We have seen the way the Force operates undergo a complete transformation and we have witnessed the introduction of the single non-emergency number, 101.

The news of our demise next November does not appear to herald a let up in the pressure of work. We continue to deliver 'business as usual' in addition to the transition programme.

In the coming months we will set our last and possibly most difficult budget. We will publish our Strategic Policing Plan and we will keep you informed of the progress we are making regarding transition.

Thank you for reading our publication. The feedback has been very positive and we are pleased to see our circulation growing by request! Hopefully we will maintain this next year.

Meanwhile, may we wish you, your family and colleagues a peaceful Christmas holiday and a very Happy New Year

1. Performance Update

Thanks to a lot of hard work, and despite a great deal of change, recorded crime has fallen by 4.5% (equivalent to 1325 fewer victims). Burglary, one of the pivotal crimes for public confidence, has dropped by a massive 20% and robbery is down by 5%.

Detections (the proportion of crimes that are solved) on the other hand, are up - in all crime categories. This is an important element of the drive to see the force among the top 20 in England and Wales and we are there, or thereabouts, in most categories.

The Chief Constable believes that this improvement is thanks to a very clear focus on the Force's purpose - as stated in the Strategic Policing Plan – 'to fight crime and protect the public'. This has led to the introduction of a tough performance regime that is delivering results.

In addition the growth of local policing, as a result of restructuring the way operational policing is delivered, has been well received and has enabled officers to be moved into frontline jobs, which is where people tell us they want them.

The focus on those who commit the most crime is also working, with targeted activities on crime and the underlying causes, supported by operations to tackle drug related serious and organised crime, which have led to significant arrests throughout the year. Criminals have learned the hard way that crime doesn't necessarily pay when their assets are seized and their ill-gotten gains taken away, which is a deterrent and appropriate sanction on their criminal activities.

One of the areas the Authority and the Force are seeking to improve is victim satisfaction and an action plan is being developed. The key areas where we want to see a difference is keeping people informed of what is happening, particularly when someone has been arrested. We want to see the victims kept informed throughout the process from arrest, to charge, to court appearances and sentence or acquittal.

All of this good news does not mean we have become complacent. Funding remains the biggest challenge for the year ahead and we need to find significant savings while continuing to enable improvements in performance. While it will not be easy both the Chief Constable and the Authority are determined that this will be achieved.

2. Strategic Policing Plan 2011-2016 – Tell us what you think

To ensure that our partners and the public have the opportunity to comment on the draft of our Strategic Policing Plan for 2011-16, we have placed it on our website and we are urging people to visit the site, consider the plan and give us their views.

The document can be found here and your opinions will be taken into account as we set the budget and priorities for policing Bedfordshire in the future.

3. Have Your Say

The Authority is asking the public to help it make the difficult choices ahead in a budget survey available on-line or by hard copy on request.

The new survey will also invite residents to give their views on the organisational changes introduced this year to deliver better value for money in challenging funding times.

In addition to questions about policing, satisfaction and resources, the survey asks searching questions about the amount of money people are prepared to pay towards policing Bedfordshire, not just this year, but in the future.

Bedfordshire Police and Police Authority need to identify £6million of savings in 2012/13 to place them on-course to achieving their overall target, which amounts to a further £13m over the next three years. Almost a third of the Force's budget is achieved through council tax income - however the Government is encouraging local authorities to freeze council tax for the second year running, with the offer of a grant equivalent to a 3% increase in the police's portion of the council tax bill as a one-off compensatory offer. This freeze would see council tax remain at £144.77 per annum for an average Band D property.

If the Police Authority decides to freeze next year's council tax at the current rate this will have no impact on plans in 2012/13 but would lead to increasingly difficult decisions being required for 2013/14 and 2014/15 in order to balance the budget. A lost income of £1.9m from local taxpayers will see the budget shrink by 2%, with the potential loss of 90 frontline posts. The online survey is available on www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk until 26 January 2012. Information generated through the survey will be fed back to the Police Authority before it discusses next year's budget, which will be set in February.

4. Police and Crime Commissioners

In September 2011 the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act. One of the key aspects is the replacement of Police Authorities in England and Wales with directly-elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).

The introduction of PCCs is one of the most significant changes to affect policing in decades. The Government believes it will improve the democratic accountability of the police service and strengthen the relationship between the police and the public. The new governance structure will have little impact on the everyday policing services delivered by the Force and the Chief Constable will continue to retain independence for all operational policing decisions.

The elected PCC will ensure the force operates efficiently and effectively and meets the appropriate interests of stakeholders and the public. Functions will include holding the Chief Constable to account; ensuring the public, partners and stakeholders are consulted over policing issues; setting the budget for the force and publishing a Police and Crime Plan. The PCC is a full-time post and will receive a salary set by the Secretary of State. They will be required to employ a Chief Executive Officer and a Chief Finance Officer however all other staffing requirements will be at the discretion of the PCC.

5. Elections

The first elections for the new PCC are scheduled to take place on November 15 2012. The Police Authority will keep residents fully up-to-date with election arrangements over the coming months but are encouraging people to plan ahead to ensure they are registered to vote on Election Day. If you are not sure whether you are registered to vote or have changed your address details recently, contact your local Electoral Registration Office who will be able to assist.

The nominated Force Area Returning Officer is the Chief Executive of Luton Borough Council. PCCs will assume their legal responsibilities on Thursday, November 22 2012 - seven days after the election. Until this time, Bedfordshire Police Authority will continue all of its functions as normal.

6. Police and Crime Panel (PCP)

To ensure balance and democracy, Police and Crime Panels will be formed to hold the PCC to account on behalf of the public. PCPs will be the responsibility of the local authority within each force area and will perform a "check and balance" role to the directly-elected PCC. Membership of the PCPs will be made up of councillors from each local authority and two Independent Members but they can have no more than 20 members in total.

Responsibilities of the new PCP will include reviewing the draft Policing and Crime Plan, reviewing the Annual Report, reviewing the appointment of the Chief Constable and reviewing and scrutinising the decisions of the PCC. They will also play a wider role in community safety by working with Community Safety Partners to reduce crime and disorder.

Bedford Borough Council has agreed to be the host authority for the PCP in Bedfordshire.

7. Transition Board

A Transition Board has been in place for some months now, with membership from our local partners. Over the coming months, this newsletter will endeavour to keep partners, practitioners and the community informed of the changes to come.

And finally...

If you have any questions about any of the articles in this newsletter, or indeed any other area of our responsibilities, then please get in touch.

For further information or to contact us

Bedfordshire Police Authority
Bridgebury House, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK43 9AX.

Tel: 01234 842066
Email: info@bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk
Web: www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

Bedfordshire Police Authority

Source: Bedfordshire Police Authority


Police Authority Budget 2012-13 Survey

This article was published in December 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police AuthorityBedfordshire Survey seeking local views on policing

Bedfordshire Police Authority is an organisation responsible for overseeing Bedfordshire Police.  It is made up from elected councillors and independent members.  The Police Authority appoints the chief police officers, sets the long term strategy and budget and scrutinises issues that concern local people.

The survey invites residents to outline their policing priorities to help shape service delivery over the next three years.

Please complete the survey here

If you would like a paper copy of the survey please email us at pat.brown@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

We would be grateful if you could forward this email to anyone you know who lives in Bedfordshire who might be interested in sharing their views on policing.


Bedfordshire Police re-launch Domestic Abuse Prevention Scheme for Christmas

This article was published in December 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterThe Christmas period is often a mix of stress, alcohol and family disagreements and while for many people this is as much a part of the festive season as mince pies and roast turkey, for others it is a volatile mix that leads to an increase in domestic abuse. 

Following the success of a pilot scheme in Luton last year, Bedfordshire Police will be running the project once again in the town using offender management techniques that were originally developed in relation to the fight against gun and gang criminality.

The Christmas period is often a mix of stress, alcohol and family disagreements and while for many people this is as much a part of the festive season as mince pies and roast turkey, for others it is a volatile mix that leads to an increase in domestic abuse.

Following the success of a pilot scheme in Luton last year, Bedfordshire Police will be running the project once again in the town using offender management techniques that were originally developed in relation to the fight against gun and gang criminality.

The initiative was designed to prevent domestic abuse offending and reduce the risk to potential victims and it achieved great success over the holiday period. Last year the top ten offenders identified did not commit a single offence over the Christmas period, whether or not it was related to domestic abuse.

Detective Inspector Richard Wall who is leading the scheme this year, believes that the successful results last Christmas and the work involving different teams within the force, is an example of what can be achieved when everyone works toward a single goal. 

"Whilst Christmas is a time of great celebration, unfortunately it is also a period of the year when a significant number of homicides are related to domestic abuse and the risk factors for victims increase, especially where alcohol is involved," DI Wall explained.

"Last year the Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock set out a very clear message that our role as officers and staff of Bedfordshire Police is to continue to 'fight crime and protect the public'. This initiative played an important part in allowing us to achieve that objective and by putting the offender on the back foot we were able to reduce the risk to potential victims and we are hoping for much of the same this year."

He continued: "The scheme means that officers are trying to change the behaviour of domestic abuse offenders. We identify those that present the most serious risk to victims and over the holiday period, officers from our Local Policing Teams will be visiting these people to remind them that although we want them to enjoy a happy and peaceful Christmas, officers will be keeping an eye on them to make sure they don't commit any offences.

"By using this direct and targeted method we believe that if we have manage to cause a single person to think twice and change their behaviour, then we have achieved our aim."

Offenders are selected using a method devised by Strathclyde Police in the Glasgow area that took into account the gravity of offending as well as how often and recently the offences occurred.

As well as members of the Local Policing Teams, officers from the force's Public Protection Unit and Intelligence Teams continue to be key players in the scheme, which if it continues to be a success, will be rolled out throughout the county.

DI Wall added: "We are all aware of the reluctance of some victims to support police activity when we use traditional methods of policing this type of abuse. The pilot study in Glasgow and our own experience last year found that if support is provided to victims they are more likely to assist the police.

"I would reassure anyone who faces domestic abuse or anyone knows someone who is a victim of this type of abuse to contact the police. We can help and if they do not wish to speak to an officer direct we can put them in touch with organisations outside the policing family who can offer advice and practical support."

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police works closely with the soLUTiONs partnership and if anyone wants confidential help and advice regarding domestic abuse they can speak to an Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor on 01234 844284 or to the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 08082 000247.

If you have information relating to Domestic Violence, contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on 01234 841212, the non emergency number 101, or text information to 07786 200011. Alternatively contact independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.


Perry Mead Eaton Bray - Burglary car taken

This article was published in December 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police ask residents to review their home security and where they keep vehicle keys, after a burglary took place in Perry Mead, off High Street, in Eaton Bray, on Wednesday the 30th of November.

  • The offence took place between 8:00 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.
  • The offender has gained access to the garden through a side gate that had been left unlocked.
  • A patio door has been damaged, and a ground floor window has been forced open.
  • An iPod and vehicle keys have been taken.
  • The offender has used the stolen keys, to remove the owner vehicle.
  • The car has since been recovered in Dunstable.

This crime is part of a series where the offenders have used keys stolen from a burglary, to also steal a vehicle.

  • Keep doors double-locked at all times.
  • Avoid leaving property like vehicle keys, handbags, or laptops in hallways, or where they can be seen from outside the house.
  • Remove all keys from the locks and keep them in a safe place and out of view.
  • Keep garden furniture, ladders, and Wheelie bins in a secure garage or shed, or locked up away from the house, where they might be used to climb onto a roof or access a first floor window.
  • Be a good Neighbour.
  • Be aware of sounds like breaking glass.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Force Control Room on 101, and quote crime reference, J D / 4 8 4 6 5 / 2011.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011

Email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Catalytic Converter Etching Day Postponed

This article was published in November 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire are informing motorists of the postponement of the free catalytic converter etching service which was due to take place at Halfords Autocentre in High Street South, Dunstable this Saturday, 12th November.

Due to other commitments Halfords is unable to host the day this week but will be supporting the initiative on another weekend in the future.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Will Viv win top police honour?

This article was published in November 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

PC Viv DadyLeighton Buzzard PC Viv Dady has been put forward for community police officer of the year at the Police Review Gala Awards after helping to significantly reduce crime in her area.

As neighbourhood officer for the rural area around Leighton, including Eaton Bray, PC Dady's force says she has been committed to improving the standard of living in the area and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

Crime has fallen by 37 per cent in the area over the past 12 months.

Her citation says she was "instrumental" in resolving a challenging anti-social behaviour case involving an alcoholic woman who caused "untold suffering" to her neighbours, with officers being called 142 times over a four-year period.

PC Dady took extensive statements from victims, worked closely with the local housing association and sought to get the woman treatment for her alcoholism. The woman's house was finally repossessed by the housing association.

Chief Con of Beds Police, Alf Hitchcock, said: "The work PC Dady has undertaken with great enthusiasm and determination has greatly benefited our local communities."

Beds Police PCSO Janet Mahoney is also nominated for PCSO of the year at the awards, while recently retired Det Con Anthony Jenkins, from Luton, is up for a lifetime achievement gong.

The nominees will find out if they have won the awards at a ceremony at The London Hilton, in Park Lane this week – a glittering event that will be attended by Home Secretary Theresa May.


Suspicous Telephone Calls

This article was published in November 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterA number of Ringmaster members have reported to us that they are receiving telephone calls from Security Companies claiming to be working with, or for the Police.

Some Residents have been told that the Chief Constable is specifically involved in these projects.

Other callers have claimed that they are selling products that raise money for the Police or Police Charities.

Bedfordshire Police do not employ any private companies to undertake security checks on peoples homes.

If you have genuine concerns about the security of your home and property, please contact your Local Policing Team, or a Crime Reduction Officer, by call 01234 841212.

Bedfordshire police offers the following advice. Never buy goods or services, as a result of a cold call from a company, over the phone.

If you are interested in a product ask for a number that you call back, when you have had time to think about the offer.

Never disclose personal details over the phone, like bank account numbers, maiden names, or dates of birth. Do not discuss times and days that your home will be empty.

Cold Calling can be reported to Trading Standards on (08454) 04 05 06.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Shed Breaks - Check Your Home Security NOW

This article was published in November 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire residents are being warned to check their sheds and garages are secure after a series of break-ins across the county.

Bicycles and mopeds are on the top of burglars' lists of things to steal, but gardening equipment and other household items are also popular and easy to get at if people continue to leave their outbuildings and gardens insecure.

Neighbourhoods across the county have seen an increase in the number of thefts, which in terms sees crime figures rise dramatically because people are not making sure their sheds, garages and gardens are secure or locked, and property within it secure.

Bedfordshire Police Crime Reduction Officer Lesley Johnson, said: "We would encourage everyone who keeps a bicycle or moped in their garage or shed to not only lock the door but secure the bike as well. In addition to this, don't leave bolt croppers, lopping-shears or other such items lying around, making it easy for burglars to free your property and run off with it in a matter of seconds. We must all have a common sense to security and do our bit to reduce crime."

Many householders do not consider the value of the goods in the shed and therefore look after them accordingly. If your shed only contains a few broken pots and seed trays then closing the door with a bent nail might be adequate. However – if like so many – your shed contains the mower, strimmer, power tools, barbecue and kids' bikes then the old bent nail is woefully inadequate. Thieves are not averse to stealing items, which need a trailer or van either – ride-on lawnmowers and particularly quad bikes are very popular.

However, there are steps to take that will deter most thieves:

  • Check gates and fences – are there any weak spots – a high back wall and a thorny hedge are two great deterrents.
  • Side passage - fit a strong gate.
  • Sheds and garages – buy and USE a good quality lock, padbolt or hasp and staple with padlocks.
  • Consider an inexpensive alarm system.
  • Do you really need a window in the shed or could it be boarded up?
  • Mark your property with postcode. You can buy cheap kits from most DIY stores, which enable you to etch the number on – or simply paint it on. This is more effective than "invisible" marking which can fade. You could share the cost of the kit with neighbours and friends.

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Reduction co-ordinators continue to actively target the problem at the moment but anything that can be done to prevent the problem in the first place is invaluable.

If you have information relating to any burglaries, contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on 01234 841212, the non emergency number 101, or text information to 07786 200011.

Alternatively contact independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111,or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Suspicious vehicles

This article was published in November 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police would like to hear from anyone who may have seen the following vehicles in the Eaton Bray area.

They have been linked with offences in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and the Thames Valley area.

A Silver Audi Quattro, registration similar to O U 5 6 Z P P.

A Silver BMW, registration similar to L T 5 6 J N X.

A silver Audi estate, and a dark coloured B M W, are also connected to these offences.

Please report all suspicious activity involving these or similar vehicles by calling 1 0 1, quoting U R N 354 of 1st November 2011.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Specials Thanked for Regional Support During Public Disorder

This article was published in November 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceSpecial constables contributed 19,495 hours across the region to the policing response during widespread public disorder in August.

There are more than 2,200 Specials in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk and they played a key role in maintaining community stability.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hopkins, Eastern Region Specials lead, said: "Once again, this demonstrates how Special constables are part of our everyday business and how we can rely on them for support. The number of hours they contributed was outstanding and their regional support was invaluable."

Nigel Green, Eastern Region Specials Coordinator, said: "I would like to thank all officers for their support during the operation. Across the region there were 70 arrests made during the disorder by Special constables.

We rely heavily on Specials not just for general policing but during major events. Without their help the regular police force would be further stretched. Specials are volunteers. They give up their time to reduce crime and the fear of crime. They come from a variety of backgrounds and do all of this to police the local communities for no pay."

During the disorder Specials carried out front line duties at key locations, including reassurance patrols.

For more information about Specials or if you're interested in becoming a Special, visit our Single Volunteering Unit page.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Ensure That You Have A Great Halloween

This article was published in October 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Halloween NightWith Halloween just around the corner, Bedfordshire Police has launched a series of posters to remind parents, guardians and youngsters to stay safe during the festivities.

The four posters – which can be downloaded from the bottom of this page offer hints and tips to 'Trick or Treaters' as well reminding people that not everyone enjoys Halloween as much as others. There are also posters for shop owners to place in their windows advising that eggs and flour will be sold at their discretion as well as a poster for residents who may not want callers at their door.

Officers have already been to schools around Bedfordshire to hand out posters and it is hoped that the campaign will ensure that all residents enjoy October 31 without causing distress to those who do not want to participate.

Head of Community Safety for the force, Police Inspector Alex House, said: "During Halloween some people, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, can find it very frightening to have large groups unexpectedly calling at their homes asking for treats.

"If possible, parents and guardians should go out trick or treating with their children, sticking to well-lit areas and only knocking on the doors of people they know. Some people may have 'No trick or treat' posters up at their doors and we ask that these are respected.

"We don't want to spoil anyone's fun, we simply want to ensure people have a safe and enjoyable Halloween."

During this time of year, the police take many extra complaints about Halloween-related activities. Some of these are about noise or general "high spirits" – but often the fun has degenerated into serious inconvenience and outright criminal activity.

Activities such as throwing eggs, flour and water bombs at other people or their property are, at the least, frightening for those who are subjected to it and at worst can mean the police investigating crimes such as assault.

Coupled with the onset of Bonfire night, Halloween can also mean extra problems with fireworks being thrown or used irresponsibly. It's worth bearing in mind that letting off fireworks near the road is actually a criminal offence.

To help reduce these types of incidents Bedfordshire Police will have a number of extra patrols in operation across the county to make sure that everyone has a good time whilst staying safe.

Source: Ringmaster, Bedfordshire


Bedfordshire Police: Making Contact: October 2011

This article was published in October 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police Authority: Making Contact
Issue 14 - October 2011

Bedfordshire Police is entering a period of unprecedented change and we are committed to keeping the public, our partners and stakeholders fully informed of these developments.

1. Value for Money

As taxpayers, the public quite rightly expects public services to be financed properly. Delivering value for money services has always been a priority for Bedfordshire Police Authority, particularly in light of the recent budget constraints, and we are pleased to report that we have again received official recognition for our efforts.

Following an independent inspection, we were one of only five police authorities nationally to receive the highly-coveted Level 3 "Good" rating demonstrating our exceptional use of public funds.

The rating has also been backed up by a report by the Audit Commission, which assessed Bedfordshire Police Authority as "green" for its work to secure value for money – the highest rating given by the Commission for looking after public funds.

Our arrangements to ensure financial resilience as we face a severe funding gap have been met with approval by inspectors as well as the systems we have put in place to secure economy and efficiency at a time of financial hardship.

Residents can be assured that we are leading by example in our efforts to achieve economy, with our collaborative arrangements with other forces described as a beacon for other Police Authorities to follow.

Not only is it important to us to spend taxpayers' money wisely, residents can be assured we are also committed to providing them with a greater say on how we can use our resources well. The Authority has been recognised for its consultation work with the public on policing priorities and finances.

2. 101 - The New Number to Call

Contacting the police has now become much easier in Bedfordshire thanks to the launch of our new, three-digit telephone number for non-urgent enquiries.

The memorable 101 telephone number has been designed to increase accessibility to the police and people can use the line to report minor crime, discuss crime prevention advice or other non-urgent matters. Focus groups welcomed the introduction of a single easy to remember telephone that they could use from anywhere to contact the police.

It will also relieve pressure on the emergency service which spends a considerable proportion of time dealing with inappropriate 999 calls which are not genuine emergencies.

On average, Bedfordshire Police receives more than 1,300 calls a day however only about 11% of those require an emergency response from the police.

Calls to 999 should always be in the context of a real emergency such as when a crime is happening, when someone suspected of a crime is nearby or where someone is injured or in danger. All other matters such as reporting a less urgent crime or contacting police with a general enquiry should be made on the 101 number.

3. Update on Police and Crime Commissioners

Proposed changes to the police governance structure finally became a reality last month after the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill received Royal Assent, ending months of debate on the issue.

This means that by the end of next year police authorities will cease to exist and will instead be replaced by directly-elected Police and Crime Commissioners.

The Authority has welcomed the clarity this decision provides and is now working hard to prepare for the transition to the new arrangements.

Elections for the new PCCs have been put back to November 2012 to give everyone involved more time to get ready for the handover and make sure it is as smooth and seamless as possible. The extra time will also facilitate the publication of national guidance to assist us as we set up a framework for the new structure.

We like to reassure residents that we are working hard behind the scenes to safeguard recent improvements made in performance and public satisfaction rates. In our view, it is 'business as usual' as we continue to deliver our work across all areas of our responsibility to achieve the best possible outcome for our communities. We are committed to keeping the public fully informed of all developments relating to PCCs and will deliver this information in a timely manner so that our communities know exactly what is happening.

It is important that the PCC inherits a financially sound organisation, and over the next few months, we will press ahead with our pioneering collaboration programme to develop further value for money projects which will improve our ability to deal with serious and organised crime and make people safer.

The strong collaborative foundations that we have put down will continue to grow in the future and we take great pride to have played such a vital role in this.

4. Update on re-organisation

From this month, all the reorganisation work we have been busy working out over the past few months will start to take effect, bringing major changes across the force which will help it to run more efficiently while also saving money.

The changes mainly relate to the way we organise our staff and should not be noticeable to local residents. They are mainly concerned with making sure the Force utilises its resources in the most effective way possible and mobilises the right people at the right time.

The force will implement the three local policing districts, already widely publicised, this month, each of which will be led by their own Chief Inspector and linked to local authority areas. PCSOs will continue to provide a vital link with communities and deal with local issues and concerns, while more police officers will be available to respond to minor crime, anti-social behaviour and problem hotspots. Local policing will become a more prominent priority with extra resources to deal with the issues that matter most to the public.

The three Chief Inspectors for the districts have been named as:

  1. Bedford - CI Rob McCaffery
  2. Central Bedfordshire - CI Neil Waring
  3. Luton - T/CI Rob Bartlett

To contact your local policing team click here and follow the links to your local authority area.

We will be able to give problems such as sustained anti-social behaviour a higher priority and any intelligence generated will be used to help the investigation process and prevent future offences.

Officers will be responsible for investigating low level crime affecting communities, targeting and disrupting prolific offenders living in neighbourhoods through early identification.

A new Response Policing Team (RPT) will attend incidents countywide, with new technology being deployed to help save money and speed up response times.

The response officers will respond 24-hours-a-day from bases in Bedford, Luton, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard, Ampthill and Biggleswade, and will usually be the first point of contact for the public in an emergency situation.

Plain clothes detectives will also cover the whole county, investigating and detecting more serious crimes.

The Force also aims to increase the number of incidents resolved on the telephone, which will reduce demand on frontline staff. As a result, it is improving the way the Control Room operates by introducing a new appointment system to resolve non-emergency issues. This enables police officers to meet victims and witnesses at times convenient to them.

The Police Authority has been keen to consult with the public and our partners throughout the reorganisation process which has guided many of our decisions. We are keen to continue that two-way communication in the months ahead and will be asking residents at a later stage whether these changes are having any impact on the service they receive to ensure we continue to meet public expectations.

5. Integrated Offender Management

Can we draw your attention to the Integrated Offender Management Leaflet? This bulletin has been sent on behalf of the Integrated Offender Management Team, which has been subject to significant investment by the Police Authority, to inform you about the joined up approach being adopted to prevent reoffending.

And finally...

If you know of anyone who may like to receive a copy of this, please forward this email - and please copy us in so that we can include their address on our distribution list.

If you have any questions about any of the articles in this newsletter, or indeed any other area of our responsibilities, then please get in touch.

If you have any questions about any of the articles in this newsletter, or indeed any other area of our responsibilities, then please get in touch.

For further information or to contact us

Bedfordshire Police Authority
Bridgebury House, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK43 9AX.

Tel: 01234 842066
Email: info@bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk
Web: www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

Bedfordshire Police Authority

Source: Bedfordshire Police Authority


Farm Theft - 14 October 2011

This article was published in October 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police are asking rural business owners to be vigilant, and to report any suspicious vehicles, or visitors, after a theft took place at a farm in Eaton Bray.

The offence took place between 9:00 a.m. on the 13th and 7:10 a.m. on the 14th of October.

The offender has approached the yard and removed high value machinery.

Property taken was a Head Plate and Truck times for a vehicle at the location.

A witness reported a vehicle that may be linked to this offence.
A White Van, registration similar to B J 5 3 K P J.

Bedfordshire Police aks local residents and businesses to be exta vigilant and review the security of all property that may be visible from the road.

For more information on reducing rural crime visit www.safer-beds.org.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Force Control Room on 1 0 1, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,4,1,9,7,2,/2011.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011 or email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on (0800) 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Dial 101 for Non-Emergency calls to Bedfordshire Police

This article was published in September 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police have launched a new number providing people with a new way to get in touch about non-emergency issues. 101 is now the main number to call Bedfordshire Police when it is less urgent than 999.

As well as making the police more accessible to communities, it is intended that 101 will reduce the number of inappropriate 999 calls.

There will be a single flat charge of 15p per call, regardless of the duration, time of day, mobile or landline.

You should call 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response. For example:

  • Stolen cars
  • If you suspect drug dealing/taking
  • To give us information about crime in your area
  • To speak to your Local Policing Team

In an emergency, always call 999 when you need an immediate response, For example:

  • Because a crime is in progress
  • Someone suspected of a crime is nearby
  • When there is danger to life
  • When violence is being used or threatened

101 will not:

  • Change the way in which the police respond to non emergency calls
  • Connect people to a large national call centre
  • Result in calls receiving a lower priority than if 999 had been called for a non emergency issue

101 should not be used to report:

  • Fly tipping
  • Noise pollution
  • Stray dogs

These should initially be reported to Central Bedfordshire Council on 0300 300 8000

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


School Lane Eaton Bray - theft

This article was published in September 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police ask local residents to be vigilant, and to report anything suspicious, after a theft took place from School Lane, in Eaton Bray, on Monday the 12th of September.

The offence took place at 5:45 p.m.

The offender has arrived at the location in a Silver or Grey, Ford Transit Van, with the part registration A J 5 2.

A lock has been cut from the gate.

A large Stainless Steel Sink has been taken.

For more information on reducing crime visit Safer-Beds.org.


If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,3,7,5,6,9,/2011.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011

Email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on (0800) 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Police Response Provides Public Reassurance Overnight

This article was published in August 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police AuthorityExtra officers were deployed to known hotspot areas in Bedfordshire during the night and as a result disrupted any potential for disorder that may have occurred.

Speculation on social media sites that 'rioting' had begun in Bedford and Luton was untrue and messages were quickly posted by the Force Communications team via Twitter and Facebook to reassure communities that all was quiet across the county. Public appreciation for these messages has since been re posted.

While there was no disorder, reports of a couple of small fires being started were received, which the Fire Service responded to as 'business as usual'. One was at Leagrave Motors in Sundon Park Road at around midnight and a bin fire at Arrow Close, both in Luton sometime later. No other incidents were reported and no one was injured.

While events are on-going in London and cities elsewhere, Bedfordshire Police has also taken the precautionary measure and requested fuel stations do not to sell jerry cans or containers of fuel.

The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Civil Contingencies and Public Order Planning Unit also sent a Police Support Unit (PSU) to assist the Metropolitan Police operation in London. Custody space and call taking support was also offered.

Anyone with information that could assist police in their prevention of disorder should call the main switchboard on 01234 841212, text to 07786 200011 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


More officers to tackle Crime in Our Communities

This article was published in August 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police AuthorityBedfordshire Police have drawn up ambitious plans to improve the service provided by the Force while also saving taxpayers' money.

From October 2011, the Force and the Police Authority will deliver a more streamlined process to improve both operational capacity and capability. This means that more officers will be available to deal with incidents reported to us by the public.

The Force carried out a detailed review of the way it organised key departments to identify areas where costs could be cut and performance improved. During the process, residents confirmed they were happy for structural matters to be dealt with by the Force so long as they received an appropriate police response when needed and crime continued to fall.

The new changes will see the number of police officers dedicated to local policing double from 92 to 185. This means a larger number of officers will be available to tackle local crime, anti-social behaviour and other community concerns while PCSOs will carry out more patrols.

There will no longer be any geographic boundaries or divisions separating communities. Instead, a Chief Superintendent will oversee Local Policing while another will be responsible for Tackling Crime.

Through reorganisation, the Force and the Police Authority will speed up response times. A new centralised team will respond to incidents county-wide officers will get to where they are needed more quickly as well as save money.

Meanwhile, a greater number of incidents will be resolved over the telephone to reduce demand on frontline staff thanks to a new appointment system for non-emergency issues. A recent survey found that people accepted this as a good way of dealing with non-urgent matters. A new three digit non-emergency number will be introduced in the autumn, after which time all you will need to dial is 101 for non-urgent situations.

Peter Conniff, Chair of Bedfordshire Police Authority, said: "We've listened to our residents throughout the review process and their comments have very much informed our strategic decisions. The changes have been made to promote greater access to police services and deliver a more effective response that meets the expectations of our communities."


How about a Cops v Kids football match?

This article was published in July 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Youth FootballBedfordshire Police's Local Policing Teams (formerly Safer Neighbourhood Teams) have organised a series of Active Surgeries during the summer holidays. In addition to offering help and advice, the teams will be carrying out property marking and offering to secure car number plates.

Sporting activities for youngsters will also be provided!

So, why not come along and see how our Officers fair against youngsters in a game of football?

Wednesday 3rd August, 1.00pm - 4.00pm, Eaton Bray Skate Park (School Lane)

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Parcel Delivery Scam - It's NOT your name on it!

This article was published in July 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police is warning the public to check labels carefully when taking delivery of parcels at their homes...

A new scam has come to notice whereby parcels are being delivered to residences with the labels showing a correct address, but an unknown name. The person receiving the parcel has been asked to sign for it and, in many cases, has done so.

Soon after the delivery, usually the following day, a woman visits the address saying she believes a parcel intended for her has been delivered there by mistake.

The woman takes the parcel and is not seen again.

Within a few days, occupants of the address invariably start to receive paperwork, often including payment demands for the parcel.

The woman is described as being of mixed race, aged in her 20s, large build and approximately 5'5" tall. She has 'significant red hair'.

Sergeant Andy Rivers said, "Even if you are expecting a delivery, make sure the label is correctly addressed to you or a member of your household.

"If you are not expecting a parcel, carefully inspect the label and if there are any discrepancies in the details, you must seriously consider declining the delivery."

If this has happened to you, or you have any information about the scam, please contact Sergeant Rivers on 01234 841212 or text 07786 200011, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously if preferred, on 0800 555111.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Your Number's Up!

This article was published in June 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterRingmaster have recently published three articles from Bedfordshire Police regarding Vehicle Crime.

Vauxhall Wing Mirrors Flying Away in Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire Police are investigating a string of wing mirror thefts across the county. Reports have been received over the last six months of exceptionally high numbers of colour-coded wing mirror casings being stolen from cars.

The predominant targets are Vauxhalls, mostly from Bedford and Luton. In fact, 81 offences have been reported between January and June 1 this year. Fifty three of these thefts were from Vauxhalls, with Mark 4 and 5 Astras being the most commonly stolen type.

"We've noticed a significant upturn in these type of thefts in the last few months," said Det Con Vicky Willett, from the Intelligence Unit. "The mirror casings are not cheap to replace and because they are not marked by the manufacturers, even if we find them it's difficult to trace them back to their rightful owners and prove they are stolen. That means the criminal could get away with the crime and continue stealing."

"We're investigating the spate of thefts but we also really need the public's help. We'd like as many people as possible to write their postcode and house number on the bottom outside edge on the casing. That means we can identify the stolen parts if we arrest those suspected of stealing them," she said.

We have free ultraviolet markers to give away to people to do this and they are available from Greyfriars, Luton, Dunstable and Ampthill police stations. The UV pens can also be used to mark all household property such as electrical items, mobile phones and bikes etc.

If people who would like an indelible marker which is completely unique to their household they can buy Smartwater from Neighbourhood Watch for a £20 fee, call 01234 275165.


Campaign Means 'Number's Up' for Car Criminals

The number is up for thieves who persist in stealing registration plates and other valuables from vehicles.

That is the hard-hitting warning from Bedfordshire Police who next month (July) are launching a new overt and covert campaign aimed at driving offences down – and putting offenders behind bars.

Called the 'Your Number's Up' campaign, it comes in response to figures that show there have been more than 660 thefts from motor vehicles across central and south Bedfordshire since the beginning of the year.

They include nearly 150 "smash and grab" offences where thieves have broken into vehicles to steal valuables like sat navs and lap-tops and nearly 90 where registration plates have been taken.

They are often used to hide the true identity of vehicles used in crime, such as stealing fuel from filling stations where registration plates are routinely filmed.

'Your Number's Up' will be launched the week commencing Monday, July 4 when officers will stage several roadshows across Central and South Bedfordshire under the Car Accessory Protection Scheme (CAPS) banner.

During the roadshows local policing teams will secure motorists' registration plates with tamper-proof screws free of charge and hand out crime prevention advice.

CCTV images of those wanted in connection with forecourt crime will be increasingly hosted on a new section of the Force web site. They will also be forwarded to social media sites and other media.

Police and PCSOs will be stepping up warnings to drivers who leave valuables on show, either by speaking to them face to face or, if that is not possible, by sending letters to their home addresses.

Teams will be paying particular attention to town centre car parks and to local beauty spots, which thieves are known to target during the warmer months.

A new hotline with 24 hour answering machine has been set up, meaning anyone with information about vehicle crime can leave it in the certain knowledge it will be reviewed by a dedicated vehicle squad intelligence officer.

All useful information gained will help with the planning of overt and covert operations, including those that involve the early morning execution of warrants at offenders' homes.

DCI Greg Horford, who is leading the 'Your Number's Up' campaign said: "Tackling vehicle crime is a force priority and we will leave no stone unturned in the hunt for those responsible for it.

"The public can help by taking the appropriate crime prevention measures and by contacting us the moment they have information that could assist police. By working together we can send a clear message to thieves that 'your number's up'."

Anyone with information about vehicle crime can leave a message on the dedicated 'Your Number's Up' hotline on 01582 473241. Alternatively telephone the main switchboard on 01234 841212, text to 07768 20011 or contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Thank you for your support.


White Seat Leon involved in burglaries

Police are seeking assistance from the public across Aylesbury Vale to look out for a white Seat Leon which is suspected of being involved in 4 burglaries across the Vale and into Hertfordshire. The offences have been committed since the 31st May when the car was stolen from a house in Bierton.

If you see a white Seat Leon in suspicious or unusual circumstances (parked outside neighbours house or on their driveway when they don't use such a car, of if they aren't home etc) then please record the registration and call police immediately informing them you believe the vehicle to be in suspicious circumstances and have been asked to call in with the registration following an appeal on Community Messaging. This will enable police operators to conduct further checks and deploy police officers if this is necessary.

Any information can be passed to the Police via the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre on 0845 8 505 505 or if you suspect a crime is in progress dial on 999.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Beware of Jewellery Scammers

This article was published in June 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police are asking local residents to be on their guard after at least five people were victims of theft in Luton and Dunstable in the last two months.

The latest incident took place on Wednesday June 1st between 11.30am and midday in Eldon Road in Luton, when the offender approached a man loading his vehicle on his driveway and placed a gold chain around his neck offering it for sale. He asked them to leave and they removed the victim's real chain, without his knowledge, leaving theirs behind.

The thieves have previously targeted victims in and around Dunstable and Luton. Two thefts occurred in Sainsbury's in Dunstable Road, Luton and Boscombe Road, Dunstable.

Two further thefts occurred in residential roads near to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital usually targeting elderly victims.

Investigating officer, Ruth Melnykowicz said: "On all occasions the offenders have been described as females of eastern European appearance, wearing long skirts and head scarves."

"We would urge people to remain vigilant to people approaching them on the street offering jewellery or other items of value for sale. We would also like to hear from anyone else who believes they may have been a victim of this type of theft."

Anyone with information can contact Ruth Melnykowicz on 01582 394022, Bedfordshire Police on 01234 841212, text 07786 200011, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


Bedfordshire Police: Making Contact eNewsletter: June 2011

This article was published in June 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police Authority: Making Contact
Issue 11 - June 2011

The Authority has just held its AGM, heralding the start of a challenging, and possibly the last, year for the Police Authority. This newsletter looks at the new appointments for the Authority, Police Performance and the way we are driving down crime, and the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.

If you have any questions about any of the articles in this newsletter, or indeed any other area of our responsibilities, then please get in touch.

Peter F Conniff, Chair, Bedfordshire Police Authority
Stephanie McMenamy, Chief Executive, Bedfordshire Police Authority

Peter Conniff Re-elected as Chair of the Police Authority

At the Authority’s AGM, held on 20 May 2011, Peter Conniff was unanimously re-elected as Chair of the Authority. This will be Peter’s seventh year as Chair.

Peter said that he was proud to be re-elected and that the coming twelve months promise to see new challenges on top of those with which everyone is well acquainted.

Residents will therefore pay £144.77 per annum (which works out at 40p a day) in 2011-12 for a Band D property, which is the same rate as last year.

Talking about the financial situation he said that the next four years will be very difficult for Bedfordshire Police and this is why the extended collaboration programme is so important. He said: “Collaboration with other forces, in particular Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, will help us to maintain the numbers of our Neighbourhood Officers for at least another year.”

Reflecting on the last twelve months, Mr Conniff acknowledged that the merger debate early in the year had had a clear impact on the Force’s focus and performance. “Once the ‘will we, won’t we’ merger debate was over, whatever your point of view on the merits or otherwise, we all moved on,” he said.

“Since then the Authority has appointed a new Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable who have refocused work on police performance and now we are seeing some optimistic results although we, and the public, need to be confident that these improvements can be sustained.”

Working with Partners

Linda Hockey, another Independent Member, was re-elected for a second term as vice-chair. This role has special responsibility for partnership working which sees Linda in close contact with our statutory partners. She also is the Authority’s representative on the Local Strategic Partnership.

Penny Fletcher (Independent Member) was appointed Chair of the Performance Scrutiny Committee and will also represent the Authority on the three local Community Safety Partnerships.

John Williams (Independent Member) will be the Authority’s representative on the Safeguarding Children Boards.

Other Committee Chairs have also been appointed:

  1. Resources Scrutiny – Fiona Chapman (Cllr Member)
  2. Compliance and Risk Management – Tony Brown (Independent Member)
  3. Standards – John Jones (Independent Lay Member)

Post Election News

Following the local elections we welcome some new appointments to the Authority. Bedford Borough Councillor Colleen Atkins returns to the Authority after a two year break, while Doreen Gurney and Iain MacKilligan from Central Bedfordshire have been appointed for the first time.

At the time of writing this newsletter, we are waiting for confirmation of the Luton Borough Councillor appointments.

All Councillor appointments to the Authority are made by the Joint Appointments Committee and are not the responsibility of the Police Authority.

We would also like to wish outgoing members, John Mingay, Alison Graham, Christina Turner and Lakbir Singh, well in the future and thank them for their contribution to the work of the Authority.

Performance

By the end of the 2010-11 year the force had recorded a disappointing increase in overall recorded crime of 3.5% (1495 more crimes compared to the previous year).

Members of the Authority agreed that the year had been a year of two halves, with the merger debate contributing to the downturn in police performance in the first six months. However, the noticeable up-swing seen over the last six months of the year has continued into the first month of the current year.

To ensure the momentum is maintained, the Performance Scrutiny Committee has asked for a report on Serious Acquisitive Crime, looking at areas where crime has increased the most.

We know that, across all three local authority areas in Bedfordshire, anti-social behaviour (ASB) continues to be a key concern for residents. When considering the Force’s performance the Police Authority was therefore particularly pleased to see a reduction in reported ASB incidents of 13% (over 5000) in 2010/11.

All three authorities have identified tackling ASB as a priority area once again for the coming year, and our ambition is to improve on this performance and provide residents with positive outcomes and reassurance. We are grateful to the number of partners who have been involved with the Operation Vision days that have been taking place across the county, details of which can be found later on in this newsletter.

It is also satisfying that criminals have learned the hard way that their ill-gotten gains can be taken away from them. Bedfordshire Police recovered nearly £1.5m in the last 12 months! A proportion of this is awarded to the force to help reduce crime.

The upward trend in performance is illustrated on the chart below, which shows the recorded crime figures for April 2011 compared to April 2010:

  1. Violence Against the Person – 828 offences, an increase of 13.4% (equating to 98 more victims)
  2. Sexual Offences – 27 offences, a reduction of 42.6% (20 fewer victims)
  3. Burglary Dwelling – 235 offences, a reduction of 27.0% (87 fewer victims)
  4. Burglary Other – 227 offences, a reduction of 15.9% (43 fewer victims)
  5. Robbery – 63 offences, a reduction of 13.7% (10 fewer victims)
  6. Theft of a vehicle – 62 offences, a reduction of 34% (32 fewer victims)
  7. Theft from a vehicle – 301 offences, a reduction of 13.3% (46 fewer victims)

Three-force Collaboration saves £20M

The AGM also saw members agree a formal three way Strategic Policing Alliance with Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, which will help all three forces to reduce the impact of the funding cuts on frontline policing services. All three Police Authorities have now signed up.

This Alliance aims to provide savings £20M across the three areas, which is the equivalent of 400 police officers. When you consider the current financial climate when officer and staff numbers are being reduced, you can see just how significant this agreement is.

The strategic alliance will reduce the impact of the cuts on the number of police officers providing visible local policing AND improve the effectiveness functions designed to prevent crime.

Areas where we think the Alliance will provide most benefit include Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Contact Management, Criminal Justice, Firearms and Dogs. The aim is to design the most economic service delivery model for this type of activity across all three forces.

Local Policing

The major changes in our structure, highlighted earlier in the year, are now being developed. Over the coming months we will arrange one-to-one meetings and Partner Practitioner Days to help us work through the detailed design of these changes with you. The new structure is likely to be fully operational by the beginning of October 2011 and these meetings will form part of our engagement and consultation between now and then.

We plan to keep you fully informed of our progress and development after the partner practitioner sessions have helped us shape the final design. Look out for various consultation events over the next few months.

Every possible effort will be made to make sure that partners, and more importantly still the public, are aware of any changes they can expect to the policing service they receive, especially if it affects the local policing teams.

If you would like to know more about your local Neighbourhood Policing Team, please use the link below: www.bedfordshire.police.uk/neighbourhood_teams/.

Listening to Local People

In our consultation over the last year people told us that they felt policing should be focused on reducing crime and the offences which cause most harm. As a result we are working with the Force to identify and address the issues associated with:

  1. Crime ‘hot spots’
  2. The most prolific offenders
  3. Repeat victims

This work is helped tremendously by Operation Vision when police officers, PCSOs, cadets and support staff are all mobilised into an area. The aim is to talk to as many residents of a particular community as possible – by knocking on doors and asking questions about what the main concerns of the community are.

Typically, around 1000 homes are visited in a day – and other activities such as enhanced patrols by Special Constables in the evening and targeted phone calls to previous victims of crime from volunteers working in the police control room also take place.

One such day in Biggleswade recently saw over 750 homes and farms visited, when 248 people were spoken to about their issues and concerns, the majority of which focused on thefts involving outbuildings and metal. Around 50% of those contacted have signed up to the Ringmaster messaging service to enable them to receive alerts and information about crimes in their area.

The day also saw three people arrested for crimes such as money laundering, drugs offences and burglary, while British Transport Police issued 32 fixed penalty notices for fare evasion. In the evening, a team of specials returned to the streets of Sandy to carry out patrols around anti-social behaviour.

Operation Vision will be in action again throughout the year on the following days:

  1. 23.06.11 - Bedford
  2. 19.07.11 - Luton
  3. 14.09.11 - Central
  4. 13.10.11 - Bedford
  5. 15.11.11 - Luton
  6. 13.12.11 - Central

A number of partners have been involved in these operations to date, if any organisations would like to support future events please contact recruitingstaff@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk in the first instance.

Operation Vision will be featured in the Crimewatch Roadshow during the week commencing 20 June.

Update on the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

This Bill has had a somewhat rocky ride over recent weeks. After more amendments than any previous Bill, it was finally presented to the House of Lords at the end of April.

Firstly Lady Hamwee recommended that the concept of directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners was piloted instead of the proposed big bang approach. Then Nick Clegg, even though confirming that Commissioners are still on the cards, added that ‘how’ is open to discussion. Next, Baroness Neville Jones (the former minister of state responsible for security and counter-terrorism who has since resigned), ruled out pilots in her response to the Lords debate on 27 April.

Then, in a surprise move, after two weeks of heated verbal ping pong Baroness Angela Harris put forward an amendment which won support by 188 votes to 176. The Baroness proposed that Police Commissioners should be appointed (not elected) by a police and crime panel, in much the same way that the Chairs of Police Authorities are selected.

Baroness Harris said directly elected police and crime commissioners posed "great risks to policing" and raised doubts about who would have the power to hire and fire chief constables. "I am very concerned that the evidence base for making this change is incredibly thin and the consequences of implementing it have not been thoroughly researched or properly thought through," she said.

Clearly, the Government will endeavour to overturn this decision when the Bill returns to the Commons later this year. However, with the Bill still to be debated clause be clause in the House of Lords, timescales for its return to the House of Commons are uncertain. What is clear though is that there is still a lot more work required on this Bill and more public debate needed. Meanwhile, we will have to wait and see what impact, if any, the Lords intervention will have.

We will need to work with our partners to make the transition from Police Authorities to Police and Crime Commissioners and Police and Crime Panels successful. Once we have a clear picture of the implications of the national debate we will start working with you to make this work for Bedfordshire.

Tell us what you think!

The circulation of this newsletter is growing all the time and we try to ensure that it contains information of interest to you. If you have any comments, or specific information that you would like to see included please let us know.

And finally...

If you have any questions about any of the articles in this newsletter, or indeed any other area of our responsibilities, then please get in touch.

For further information or to contact us

Bedfordshire Police Authority
Bridgebury House, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK43 9AX.

Tel: 01234 842066
Email: info@bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk
Web: www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

Bedfordshire Police Authority

Source: Bedfordshire Police Authority


Eaton Bray farm theft

This article was published in June 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterThis is a Countryside Watch message issued by Ringmaster, on behalf of Bedfordshire Police.

Bedfordshire Police ask residents in Eaton Bray and rural business owners to be vigilant, and to report any suspicious vehicles, after a theft took place from a farm in Eaton Bray, on Friday the 27th of May.

The offence took place at 8:15 a.m.

A witness saw a White van arrive at the location.

A gate was forced open and a number of tractor and vehicle engine parts were stolen.

The vehicle was seen leaving the location being driven by a white male in his 30s.

The vehicle is described as a Transit style van, with the part registration V P B.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,2,2,0,9,2,/2011.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011 or email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Burglary in The Rye

This article was published in April 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterThis is a Ringmaster Message from Bedfordshire Police.

Please pass the details of this message onto any friends, and neighbours.

Residents in Eatom Bray are asked to be vigilant, and to report any suspicious activity in back gardens, after a burglary took place in The Rye.

The offence took place between the 20th and the 24th of April.

The offender gained access to the rear garden, and forced open the door to a conservatory.

Once inside the offender has tried to force a door into the rest of the house.

This has been unsuccessful.

No entry was gained and no property was taken.

Many Burglaries can be prevented.

Your boundaries are your first line of defence against criminals.

Always secure garden gates, keep fences and wall in good repair and consider defensive planting, or trellis.

Keep garden furniture, ladders, and Wheelie bins in a secure garage or shed, or locked up away from the house, where they might be used to climb onto a roof, access a first floor window or access neighbours garden.

Report any suspicious activity, or vehicles, in the area.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,1,7,2,6,8,/2011.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011 or email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk For more information on reducing burglary related crime visit http://www.safer-beds.org/rmwebportal/rm_desktop/files/Crime%20Reduction%20-%20Buglaries.html

Or call crime stoppers in confidence on (0800) 555111.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Bedfordshire Police: Making Contact eNewsletter: April 2011

This article was published in April 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police Authority: Making Contact
Issue 10 - April 2011

At our recent meeting, the new Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock gave members a brief overview of his first few weeks in the Force. He has certainly been busy, meeting with many local organisations to look at future policing needs across Bedfordshire. In a run down of the some higher profile policing issues that have occurred since he joined us, he praised the professionalism of the officers and staff who policed the recent EDL demonstration so successfully alongside partners, community mediators, cadets and external Forces.

Peter F Conniff, Chair, Bedfordshire Police Authority
Stephanie McMenamy, Chief Executive, Bedfordshire Police Authority

Police Part of Council Tax Frozen for 2011-12

At its meeting held on February 18th, 2011, members of Bedfordshire Police Authority unanimously agreed to freeze the proportion of council tax local people pay towards policing next year.

The decision was in recognition of the financial hardship many households in the county face in the current economic climate. As a result, the Authority now qualifies for a Government grant, equivalent to a council tax increase of 2.5% to make up for any lost revenue generated from council tax.

Residents will therefore pay £144.77 per annum (which works out at 40p a day) in 2011-12 for a Band D property, which is the same rate as last year.

The Budget for Policing Bedfordshire in 2011-12

Next year’s budget for policing Bedfordshire was approved at a figure of £103.115million, which takes into account the funding shortfall from the Government of £3.970million.

During the next four years, the Authority’s funding from the Government will reduce by approximately £19million and two-thirds of these savings must be made over the next two years, which means the Authority needs to save £6.2million in 2011/12 and a further £5.6million in 2012/13.

Fortunately we have plans to handle this situation as a result of our previous efficiency programmes and contingency planning.

Both the Force and the Police Authority have spent many months considering internal processes and structures to seek out less expensive and more effective ways of working. We have set out to introduce new ways of working that will not damage performance or threaten the services that matter most to our communities, reorganising several key aspects of our service so that we can still deliver a quality policing service.

Local Policing Plan Fights Crime and Protects Public

The budget approved by the Authority has been developed to ensure that all resources are used to maximum effect where they are most needed. The way in which resources are deployed is agreed with the Authority and the Chief Constable, which results in the production of the Local Policing Plan.

The Police Authority has approved an overarching four year plan which incorporates more specific information for the coming year. The plan clearly states that Bedfordshire Police will focus on Fighting Crime and Protecting the Public, which is the primary purpose of the Force.

The plan aims to deliver four key outcomes:

  1. Protection of Life
  2. Protection from Violence
  3. Protection of Property
  4. Protection from Disorder

As we explained in the last newsletter, we are introducing new ways of working that will remove managerial layers and make the force more efficient by providing a highly localised service. A new centralised structure will provide local policing teams assessing local requirements before calling for support from experts in areas such as crime investigation.

Naturally, resources must be allocated to meet demand but we are clear that every area will have its own local policing team.

Both the Authority and the Force are clear that the focus in terms of performance should be targeted on those areas that cause the most harm to our communities and require improvements. Therefore the Police Authority will concentrate its scrutiny on key areas for improvement over the next twelve months.

The full plan can be found here.

What Local People Said

To ensure that the way we use our resources reflects the views of local people, once again we asked people what they thought. Our online survey asking how people would like to see our resources used was completed by 1,445 people, including 76 businesses.

We were pleased to learn that two thirds think that the Police provide good value for money, which verifies the views of Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and the Audit Commission.

We also asked people to prioritise the use of police resources. People felt that it was more important to have a higher focus on the protection of life and protection from violence than disorder issues, although 83% felt that resources should be targeted on areas where crime and anti social behaviour are higher. The vast majority (87%) confirmed that they would be happy to see different a workforce mix as long as their policing needs were still met.

Several people also told us that in their view the role of the police has become too broad, suggesting that a "back to basics" would be more effective.

Looking Ahead

While it is likely that directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners will replace Police Authorities by May 2012 there remains a lot to be achieved before then.

The ongoing funding cuts will mean that we will need to make some difficult decisions to ensure that we can balance the budget for 2012-13, while ensuring that the quality of policing does not suffer. We are planning to focus our efforts on scrutinising areas that have had recent investment to ensure that performance improves while costs are cut.

Our forward planning and preparation for the new landscape mean we are well placed to meet the challenges ahead and ensure a smooth transition to the new governance processes.

Over the next few months we will gain greater clarity on these issues and will keep you informed.

Go ahead for joint road policing unit

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Police Authorities have approved a new joint unit to deal with all road policing issues (including traffic patrols, the deployment and development of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, investigations into serious road collisions and road deaths, traffic management and vehicle recovery) across the two counties.

The move will provide increased resilience and greater resources at peak times, as well as efficiency savings. In its first full year, the joint function will save both forces around £654,000 and this is expected to increase in subsequent years to almost £700,000 per annum.

The move follows the establishment of a number of successful collaborative initiatives for the two forces over recent years, including a joint Dog Unit, Scientific Services Unit and Major Crime Unit, which are currently delivering savings of £3million per year.

In addition, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire are moving towards establishing a Strategic Policing Partnership with Cambridgeshire which will enable the three forces and police authorities to work together to establish further collaborative units in due course, including a three-force road policing function.

Our collaboration projects are designed to help us protect the local policing service that our residents have told us is very important to them. We will continue to work with our local partners to ensure that local people receive the type of service that matters most to them.

And finally...

If you have any questions about any of the articles in this newsletter, or indeed any other area of our responsibilities, then please get in touch.

For further information or to contact us:

Bedfordshire Police Authority
Bridgebury House, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK43 9AX.
Tel: 01234 842066
Email: info@bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk
Web: www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

Bedfordshire Police Authority

Source: Bedfordshire Police Authority


Chief Gives Backing to 'Street Watch' Project

This article was published in April 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police AuthorityBedfordshire's new Chief Constable has publically thrown his weight behind an initiative that enables residents to organise high visibility civilian patrols in their own neighbourhoods.

Alf Hitchcock, who joined the force at the beginning of this year, has written an internet article that describes Street Watch as having "huge potential" nationally.

In a front page comment on www.street-watch.org.uk Mr Hitchcock says: "It is a great way for the community to work with the police and make Bedfordshire even safer.

"Street Watch is community empowerment in action and its benefits are clear – crime and anti-social behaviour prevention, reassurance and increased community cohesion.

"Street Watch has huge potential nationally and I am proud that the citizens of Bedfordshire have been so keen to form local schemes and lead the way on this."

Mr Hitchcock spoke out as the wheels were put in motion to launch the tenth Street Watch scheme in Bedfordshire since April last year – making it one of the most successful projects in the country.
A public meeting to rally support was held at Shillington Village Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday (March 31), just a week after another successful scheme was launched in Clifton.

Street Watch, which was originally launched in Hampshire and Surrey, involves local people taking it in turns to patrol communities in high visibility vests to provide reassurance and talk to residents.
It is emphasised they are not doing the job of police officers or PCSOs and have no more power than ordinary citizens. Instead the purpose of Street Watch is to prevent crime by increasing visibility, maintaining effective communication and reporting to police and increasing feelings of safety and community spirit.

Each scheme relies on Street Watch finding coordinators and volunteers prepared to give two hours each month and keep the national web site up to date with what they are doing and where. They also have to be vetted at the same level as police volunteers.

Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant Lisa Johnson, who has helped oversee the Bedfordshire project, said: "Street Watch is a classic example of the community and police working in partnership to reduce crime and increase feelings of safety.

"In Marston Moretaine – our first scheme – we saw a 12 per cent decrease in anti-social behaviour and a six per cent decrease in overall crime between May and November 2010. While we cannot positively attribute all this to Street Watch, it is plain the scheme has had an extremely positive impact on the village.

"We would urge anyone interested in setting up a similar scheme in their area to get in touch."
Anyone interested can contact Sgt Johnson direct on 01582 473333, through the main switchboard on 01234 841212 or email lisa.johnson@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


School Lane Eaton Bray - Burglary

This article was published in April 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police are asking residents in Eaton Bray with UPVC front doors to keep them double locked at all times, after a burglary took place in School Lane.

The offence took place between 11:00 a.m. on the 1st and 5:20 p.m. on the 3rd of April 2011.

The offender has forced open the UPVC front door, and the house has been searched.

Jewellery has been taken.

Many Burglaries can be prevented:-

  • Keep doors and windows locked at all times.
  • Remove all keys from the locks and keep them in a safe place and out of view.
  • Avoid leaving property like Handbags, Keys, or laptops in hallways, or where they can be seen from outside the house.
  • Keep garden furniture, ladders, and Wheelie bins in a secure garage or shed, or locked up away from the house, where they might be used to climb onto a roof or access a first floor window.
  • Be a good Neighbour.
  • Be aware of sounds like breaking glass.
  • Report any suspicious activity, or vehicles, in the area.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,1,4,0,9,9,/2011.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011 or email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk Or call crime stoppers in confidence on (0800) 555111.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


The 2011 National Census

This article was published in March 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterWe are aware that the census may give potential distraction burglars or rogue traders an opportunity to target vulnerable people in our communities. To help prevent this, please take note of the following information and, if possible, pass it on to family, friends and neighbours:

  • If you have completed and returned your questionnaire promptly (ie before 6 April), you will not be contacted by census field staff.
  • All census staff will carry an ID card with a photo, logo and hologram, which they should automatically show to you. They may ask for name and number of residents, but they will not ask for specific details (like credit card or bank/building society details, etc – never disclose these).
  • If you forget to complete your form, a census collector will call to request that it is completed. Make sure you check their identity and photo to ensure they are valid. Always use a door chain when opening the door. Census staff are not required to enter you house.
  • Our main advice about preventing distraction burglary still applies – if you’re not sure, don’t open the door. Telephone the census helpline on 0300 0201 101 to check the identity of the census collector.
  • If you wish, you can request a pre-arranged appointment with a collector, via the census helpline number.

If you have any reason to suspect a caller is not genuine, call Bedfordshire Police on 01234 841212, giving us as much information as you can.

Thank you for your support

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Stay on Mettle Against Lead Thieves

This article was published in March 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Stay on your mettle against lead thieves if you are planning building work this spring.

That is the advice from Bedfordshire Police who say thieves will not hesitate to take advantage of ladders, or any other potential climbing aids, left lying around.

Chief Insp Neill Waring said the price of scrap lead is still high and reminded do-it-yourself enthusiasts and traders to ensure equipment is stored at night and access to any scaffolding is properly restricted.

Ways to protect lead include:

  • Coating it with anti-climb paint. It does not degrade the lead, but will make it very messy and difficult for a thief to remove. The paint is non-drying and marks clothing and skin, often helping the police to identify offenders
  • Forensic marking helps identify stolen metal and enables police to trace it back to the owner. It has resulted in the successful conviction of thieves. Products available include SmartWater, Red Web and SelectaDNA Grease
  • Check your roof regularly. The earlier you report a theft the more chance there is of finding the stolen metal – particularly if it is marked
  • Regularly check the perimeter security of your home or site. Limit access, particularly for vehicles, but maintain the natural surveillance provided by neighbouring premises or routes
  • Consider security lighting, CCTV and roof /drive alarms.
  • If lead or copper is due for replacement, consider modern alternatives that are less attractive for thieves.

Chief Insp Waring said: "Spring is one of those times often earmarked for building work involving the use of ladders, scaffolding and other equipment.

"Most project managers and builders are extremely security minded but with the price of lead so high we would just like to remind everyone, including the DIY enthusiast, about the importance of removing at night, or protecting, anything that could be used as a climbing aid.

"Double-check all materials and tools are securely put away after work, rather than left on site or in the back of a van, and that tools are security marked with a product like SmartWater. Today all prisoners who come into our custody suites are routinely scanned to establish whether they have come into contact with it.

"Bedfordshire Police are doing all they can to deter lead theft and residents can help by keeping an eye on building sites and contacting us if they see anything suspicious."

For further information and crime prevention advice, contact Bedfordshire Police Crime Reduction Officers on 01234 841212 or email saferhomes@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.

For information about theft contact police, in confidence on01234 841212, text to 07786 200011 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Volunteer Custody Visitors Needed

This article was published in March 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police Authority is currently recruiting Independent Custody Visitors.

Independent Custody Visitors check on the standards in which people are held in custody, enhancing the accountability and transparency of police among the communities they serve. Visitors play a vital role in raising standards in custody and the fair treatment of detainees.

Volunteers from all walks of life and sections of the community are invited to join Bedfordshire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme.

Applications for this recruitment are required by Thursday 7th April 2011.

Applicants must be able to attend induction training on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June 2011.

To find out more or apply for an application pack please:

Telephone: Pat Brown at Bedfordshire Police Authority on 01234 842067

Email:  pat.brown@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

For more details please visit the Police Authority web site using the link below. 

Thank you for your support

 


Force Backs 'Burglar Buster' Campaign

This article was published in March 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police are throwing their weight behind a national initiative aimed at helping to protect the elderly from distraction burglars.

From today Safer Neighbourhood Officers are starting to deliver hundreds of posters to shops, post offices, doctors' surgeries, libraries and other locations as part of a national campaign called Operation Liberal.

There are four posters in the campaign that feature the slogan "Not Sure? Don't Open the Door" and pictures of pensioners who have become "Burglar Busters" by following key crime prevention advice.

For example, when two men claiming to be from the "Water Board" called at Jean's home, she called police because she knew "Water Boards" no longer exist. The men are now behind bars. When two men posing as police officers called at Harbans’ house, he kept the door closed while he called local police to check their identity. It turned out they were bogus.

Quick-witted Mary saw a suspicious couple calling next door claiming to have lost a ball in the garden. Mary noted the couple’s vehicle details and called police, who confirmed they were distraction burglars.

And John's quick call to police helped stop a bogus caller pretending to be an energy supplier. John had signed up to the Priority Service Register password scheme and the caller did not know his password. John rightly refused to open his door.

Central Bedfordshire Police Crime Reduction Officer, PC John Shiels, said: "This area is not suffering a major problem with distraction burglars at the moment and we are determined to keep it that way. For that reason we are delighted to back this initiative and the 'Not Sure? Don't Open the Door Message'".

"Our advice to pensioners is to use a spy hole and door chain and insist on seeing identification. If you are any doubt about a caller do not let them in and call police.

Anyone with information about distraction burglary can contact police, in confidence, on 01234 841212; Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or text to 07786 200011.

For crime reduction advice email saferhomes@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Burglary in Harling Road

This article was published in February 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterA theft took place in Harling Road, in Eaton Bray, between 8:45 p.m. on the 8th and 9:00 a.m. on the 9th of February.

The offender has gained access to a fuel tank in the grounds.

The fuel pipe has been broken and a large amount of heating oil has been taken.

Bedfordshire Police ask local residents to be vigilant, and to report anything suspicious immediately.

For more information on reducing crime visit Safer Bedfordshire.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,6,0,7,9,/2011.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011 or email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk

Or call Crime stoppers in confidence on (0800)555111.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Volunteer for Nominated Neighbour Scheme!

This article was published in January 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterPolice in Central Bedfordshire are looking for people to act as a 'Nominated Neighbour' for elderly or vulnerable people living near to them.

The scheme encourages elderly people not to open the door or talk to unfamiliar callers, but to keep the chain on and show them a bright yellow card.

The card instructs the caller to go to a Nominated Neighbour, who will then check their identity and return with them and supervise the visit.

The initiative is just one of many crime prevention initiatives police are spearheading as part of Operation Vision to drive down burglary.

Chief Inspector Neill Waring said: "People who are particularly vulnerable, may not have the confidence to deal robustly with callers. The public can help by keeping an eye on their elderly neighbours or by signing up to our Nominated Neighbour Scheme to help deal with unwanted or unexpected callers. Often members are relatives, friends, Neighbourhood Watch supporters or others with an interest in making their communities a safer place. Families can constantly help by reminding elderly relatives of the importance of using spy holes and door chains and never letting unfamiliar people through the door without ID - even if they claim to have a legitimate reason such as being a water board official or police officer."

Anyone who would like to become a Nominated Neighbour can contact their local crime reduction officer on 01582 471212 or email saferhomes@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

Anyone with information about a crime should call the main switchboard on 01234 841212 or Crimestoppers (anonymously) on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Burglaries in Greenways and Wallace Drive

This article was published in January 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterA Burglary took place in Greenways, in Eaton Bray, on Thursday the 13th of January, between 4:30 and 4:40 p.m.

The offender has gained access to the side of the house, entering through a door that had been left unlocked. A purse was taken from the kitchen. The owner was in the house at the time and saw a shadow in the hallway. The owner has called out, causing 3 males to run from the house. The purse has since been found near to the house.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,1,7,8,0,/2011.


A Burglary took place in Wallace Drive, on Thursday the 20th of January, between 5:00 and 5:10 a.m.

The offender has forced open the front door. A handbag has has been taken.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,2,7,5,1,/2011.


Other ways to get in touch

  • Text your message to (07786) 200011
  • Email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk Or call crime stoppers in confidence on (0800) 555111.

Many Burglaries can be prevented

  • Keep doors and windows locked at all times.
  • Remove all keys from the locks and keep them in a safe place and out of view.
  • Avoid leaving property like Handbags, Keys, or laptops in hallways, or where they can be seen from outside the house.
  • Keep garden furniture, ladders, and Wheelie bins in a secure garage or shed, or locked up away from the house, where they might be used to climb onto a roof or access a first floor window.
  • Be a good Neighbour.
  • Be aware of sounds like breaking glass.
  • Report any suspicious activity, or vehicles, in the area.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Thames Valley Police - Community Messaging

This article was published in January 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterWatch members are continuing to report cold calls from a company, telling them that their computer is at risk, asking them to turn it on immediately, so that the caller can 'fix' the problem for them, for a fee.

Trading standard's advice is:-

  • Do not deal with cold callers.
  • Never give personal information over the telephone to cold callers.
  • Never give passwords or credit cards and bank details over the telephone to unknown callers.

A resident had two calls yesterday from a security company, claiming to be doing a NHW survey and offering security systems for £1. When the resident identified themself as being a NHW co-ordinator the caller quickly made their excuses and terminated the call.

Any alarm or security systems at such a low cost may well have a heavy monthly monitoring fee and large cancellation costs.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


17 Years Imprisonment for South Beds Burglars

This article was published in January 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterFour men who committed a series of burglaries between August 2009 and January 2010 across South Bedfordshire were sentenced at Luton Crown Court yesterday (January 13).

To read more please see the Bedfordshire Police court report.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Bedfordshire Police: Making Contact eNewsletter: January 2011

This article was published in January 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police Authority: Making Contact
Issue 7 - January 2011

As you will be aware, the weeks ahead represent some of the most challenging we have ever faced and we intend to keep you updated as matters progress. If you have any questions about any of the issues in this newsletter, or any other matter that is within the Police Authority's area of responsibility, please do contact us.

Peter F Conniff, Chair, Bedfordshire Police Authority
Stephanie McMenamy, Chief Executive, Bedfordshire Police Authority

1. The Funding Cuts

In December 2010, the Government announced details of police funding for the two financial years from April 2011 and indicative figures for the following two years.

In total, the reductions equate to approximately £19M over the next four years, with £6.3M of this needing to be found in 2011-12 and £5.6M in 2012/13.

We have been bracing ourselves for this for some time and a great deal of groundwork has already been undertaken so that we can minimise the impact on operational policing.

However, there is no getting away from the fact that the Police Authority and Force will now need to make difficult decisions to protect frontline policing services as far as possible.

2. Local Policing remains top priority

We have been exploring a range of options which will reduce the organisational structure of the Force but fundamentally maintain the local policing teams which are valued by the public. In the following articles you will see how we intend to do this.

In the meantime we are working to set the budget, agreeing where our resources should be used and seeing how we can extend our collaboration work with other forces and partners to stretch our funding further.

You can give us your views on our budget from January 13, by visiting the website www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk and completing our budget survey.

When the grant was announced we were disappointed that, despite the support of our MPs, Bedfordshire is still not receiving the full grant relative to its needs. On the positive side, however, the Government agreed to retain the Neighbourhood Policing Fund for another two years which helps to fund PCSOs.

3. Police Numbers

In order to meet the required reductions in funding, we will be changing the way in which some services are delivered. As a result it is anticipated that there will be both police officer and staff cuts.

We expect that in 2011/12 police officer numbers will reduce by 60, but both the Authority and Force are committed to minimising the impact on frontline services and any unnecessary expenditure will be cut.

We are determined that with the new ways of working, due to be in place by April 1st this year, the public will receive an improved service that is excellent value for money - delivering real savings.

4. Improving Services, Reducing Expenditure

The funding cuts have meant that we have had to look at new ways of working - ways that focus on the provision of a quality policing service that best meets the needs of our communities.

Following the decision not to progress with a merger between ourselves and Hertfordshire Constabulary attention was therefore focused on a project called Programme 2011, looking at different ways of working, both in terms of visible policing and support functions, to see how these can be provided more efficiently.

The changes include the delivery of local policing services. There will be no geographical divisions: instead, there will be a Chief Superintendent in charge of Local Policing and another directing the work to tackle crime.

There will be three local policing districts who will work with the Community Safety Partnerships in each unitary area and Local (Neighbourhood) Policing Teams will be given additional resources to help them to tackle more crime.

The result of this is that policing will be more localised, which is what the public have said they want to see.

There will also be one countywide team to respond to incidents, with bases spread across the county. The single team will bring economies of scale and with the aid of the Authority's investment in new technology, is intended to speed up response times.

Improvements in the way the Control Room is operated will lead to more issues being resolved by telephone. The appointments system is already improving the service we give to the public. Improvements to technology will help us have the right resources in the right place at the right time.

Programme 2011 will also see a more centralised approach in terms of criminal justice, intelligence work and public protection, increasing our resilience and providing economies.

The Crime Management team will focus on the most serious crimes which have the greatest impact. This team will increase the number of support staff in specialist roles to make it more efficient.

All support services will be reviewed to ensure that the appropriately skilled people are in the right posts. This will enable us to preserve frontline policing services.

5. Collaboration and Partnership Working

Already acknowledged nationally as the leaders in collaborative working with our police partners, we are delighted that Cambridgeshire has recently agreed to join the strategic partnership between Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. This three way programme will bring greater economies of scale and help us all become more efficient.

Current collaboration projects include policing services which deal with specialist operations, such as major incident investigation, roads policing and forensics. In addition, we are also collaborating on certain 'back office' services including Information Technology and Procurement.

The Collaboration programme is already delivering savings amounting to £3m per year, and we have ambitious plans for the future. However, it is clear that this alone will not be enough.

Therefore we are exploring new ways of working with our partner agencies to see where a more 'joined up' approach can be adopted. This includes areas such as improved access to services, offender management, property and business services.

6. Local Services for Local People

Our overall priority is to maintain the services that matter most to local people and we are fully committed to keeping the public, partners and stakeholders fully informed and consulted on the changes to services.

As part of this, the Authority is undertaking a series of presentations at Community Safety Forums across the county over the next few weeks, when people will be able to ask questions and give feedback on our plans.

7. Elected Police and Crime Commissioners

The recent Police Reform Bill sets the way for Police Authorities to be replaced by Police and Crime Commissioners. There will be one Commissioner for the county of Bedfordshire who will be elected by the public in May 2012. Further details will be provided in a future communication when the transition arrangements and their implications on the public and partners have been clarified by the Coalition Government.

For further information or to contact us:

Bedfordshire Police Authority
Bridgebury House, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK43 9AX.

Tel: 01234 842066

Email: info@bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

Web: www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

Bedfordshire Police Authority

Source: Bedfordshire Police Authority


Theft of Vehicle License Plates

This article was published in January 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterThe registration plates were removed from a vehicle in Moor End, in Eaton Bray, between 11:30 p.m. on the 10th and 9:30 a.m. on the 11th of January.

The vehicle was a Silver, 51 registered, BMW.

No attempt was made to enter the vehicle.

Vehicle owners are encouraged to improve the security of registration plates by 1 of the following methods:

  • Replacing the plates with Anti Tamper plates.
  • Replacing the existing screws with non return screws.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,1,4,2,2,/2011.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011 or email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Burglary in The Nurseries, Eaton Bray

This article was published in December 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterA Burglary took place in The Nurseries, in Eaton Bray, on Wednesday the 29th of December, between 1:00 and 6:40 p.m.

The offender has forced open the UPVC front door.

A search took place.

It is not yet known what property has been taken.

Many Burglaries can be prevented:-

  • Keep doors and windows locked at all times.
  • Remove all keys from the locks and keep them in a safe place and out of view.
  • Avoid leaving property like Handbags, Keys, or laptops in hallways, or where they can be seen from outside the house.
  • Keep garden furniture, ladders, and Wheelie bins in a secure garage or shed, or locked up away from the house, where they might be used to climb onto a roof or access a first floor window.
  • Be a good Neighbour.
  • Be aware of sounds like breaking glass.
  • Report any suspicious activity, or vehicles, in the area.

If you have any information about this crime or other suspicious incidents, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212, and quote crime reference, J,D,/,5,3,6,9,6,/2010.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011.

or email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk Or call crime stoppers in confidence on (0800) 555111. Contact Ringmaster on (01234) 275288 or email Ringmaster@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Garage and Shed Warning

This article was published in December 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police are urging residents to be on their guard following an upturn in garage, garden shed and out building break-ins.

Thieves often target outbuildings and the problem is due to residents not considering the value of the equipment stored in them. Lawnmowers, power tools and even quad bikes are targeted and not cheap to replace. Residents also need to be aware that their tools will be used against them. Burglars will take advantage of unlocked sheds or garages and use tools to break into their homes.

Leaving items such as ladders and tools in the garden also act as an invitation to opportunist thief who may use them to gain access to your home.

Crime Reduction Officer, PC John Shiels, said: “The risk of becoming a victim of theft remains low, by taking a few simple steps to you can deter offenders. Having an unsecure shed or garage, could mean the difference between your property being broken into or not. “Residents need to review their security, ensure side gates are locked, boundaries are in good order and shed and garages are secure. It is also a good idea to join Neighbourhood Watch, since it provides advice on all aspects of household, personal and vehicle security.”

Here are some tips to help keep the contents of your shed and garage safe:

  • Don't leave your ladders or tools in your garden as a thief will use them to gain access to your home.
  • Buy and remember to USE good quality locks, padbolts or hasp and staple with padlocks for garages and sheds.
  • Make sure any side passages are fitted with strong gates which are fitted with secure bolts and padlocks.
  • Check gates and fences for weak spots. A high back garden wall and a thorny hedge are two great deterrents.
  • Do you need a window in a shed or could you board it up?
  • Marking your property with your postcode is a cheap and easy way to make sure your property is returned to you should it be stolen.
  • Alternatively paint your details on the equipment - this is more effective than invisible marking which can fade and could act as a deterrent.

Anyone with information on theft or burglary can contact police, in confidence, on 01234 841212, Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or text to 07786 200011.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Energy Questionnaire Warning

This article was published in November 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Police and Neighbourhood Watch would like to make people aware of the following report on BBC's “Watchdog” programme featured on 4 November 2010 about the following survey that is soon to be sent to over 1 million homes.

N-Power, Unilever and Talk Talk are among the many companies sponsoring a survey that is to be sent out by TNT. They request you fill in a questionnaire detailing your personal information and to leave it on your doorstep in an unsealed paper bag for collection the following day.

The questionnaire is five pages long and contains one hundred and eighty six questions about your personal circumstances.

The Information Commissioner's Office has stated that;
"These surveys usually require people to provide a large amount of personal information - ranging from whether they have any outstanding medical conditions, to details of their household income. Anyone approached to fill in one of these surveys should think twice before leaving information like this on their doorstep. They should be aware that anyone could potentially pick it up, opening the way to identity theft. People completing these forms should also understand who will have access to their information and what it will be used for."

More advice and information is available from the Watchdog website.

Source: Community Message from Thames Valley Police, Aylesbury on 18 November


New Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police

This article was published in October 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police AuthorityBedfordshire Police Authority has today announced the appointment of Alf Hitchcock as the next Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police.

Mr Hitchcock, who is currently Deputy Chief Constable at the National College of Police Leadership at the Police Staff College, Bramshill, will take over when the current Chief Constable, Gillian Parker, retires at the end of the year.

Congratulating Mr Hitchcock on his appointment, Chair of the Police Authority, Peter Conniff, said: "I'm extremely pleased to have been able to appoint someone with such extensive experience across different areas of policing, experience which will undoubtedly be used to Bedfordshire's benefit. On behalf of the full Authority, I welcome him on board and look forward to working with him as we address the challenges ahead."

Speaking after his appointment was revealed Mr Hitchcock said: “It's fantastic news and an honour to have been selected. I was particularly keen to be appointed as Bedfordshire is made up of both rural and urban areas, each having its own complexities in terms of the way policing is delivered, which represents a really exciting challenge.

“There are also some really difficult challenges to be tackled in the coming years and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to address these with a Force that is so forward thinking and positive about the future. Whenever I have visited the Force I've been impressed by the enthusiasm of all the officers and staff.”


Background Information

Alf HitchcockMr Hitchcock started his career with Lancashire Constabulary in 1977 where he carried out a number of operational roles.

He joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 2003 as an Associate Director teaching the national Strategic Command Course at the Police Staff College, Bramshill.

In 2004 he moved into Territorial Policing and took on the responsibility for nine territorial boroughs and held the Criminal Justice portfolio.

By 2005 he had lead responsibility for the Safer Neighbourhoods Programme in the Metropolitan Police area and had delivered the successful roll out of Neighbourhood policing across the whole of London by the end of 2006. In 2007 he became Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Operational Services, with responsibilities including Professional Standards, Diversity and Citizen Focus.

In 2009 he was appointed Deputy Chief Constable he joined the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) to help set up the new National College of Police Leadership and review the leadership courses delivered by the Leadership Development Unit.

Mr Hitchcock has an Honours degree in Psychology, two Masters degrees in Organisational Management and Business Administration, a post graduate diploma in Applied Criminology, and is a fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. He was a recipient of the Queens Police Medal (QPM) for distinguished service in the 2008 New Year's Honours. He is married with two daughters and enjoys skiing.

Source: Bedfordshire Police


Bedfordshire Police: Making Contact eNewsletter: September 2010

This article was published in September 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire Police Authority: Making Contact
Issue 6 - September 2010

1. Policing in the 21st Century

In late July, the Home Secretary announced the Government’s plans for policing, which include greater collaboration between police forces; more use of local volunteers; and promises of less bureaucracy, greater access to information and regular beat meetings. However, the most controversial element is the proposal to introduce directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to replace Police Authorities.

The Government states that Commissioners will ensure the police are held to account by the public and their role will incorporate holding the Chief Constable to Account; representing and engaging local residents; setting priorities and agreeing a strategic plan for the force; setting the force budget and the precept; and appointing and where necessary firing the Chief Constable.

In short, one person will be elected to undertake a role currently carried out by 17 members and supporting secretariat. However, it does not appear that this will reduce the amount of administration and bureaucracy, as this individual will appoint their own supporting team and it proposed that there will also be a panel of people in place to overview the work of the commissioner, known as Police and Crime Panels.

The proposed timescales will see the first elections take place in 2012, with Commissioners elected to serve a four year term, for a maximum of two terms.

Bedfordshire Police Authority members, having considered the proposals carefully, do not believe that PCCs can improve upon, or even deliver, the current system of governance and accountability. They have also questioned the need for change of such magnitude in the current age of austerity, when public sector funding is reducing and the demand for services is likely to increase. Change will inevitably lead to a dip in performance and additional cost at a time when attention should be focused on maintaining services and efficiency savings, both of which the Police Authority is arguably the best placed organisation to deliver.

2. Change in the Age of Austerity

Bedfordshire Police Authority has an enviable track record for driving efficiency savings and ensuring value for money. For example, between 2006-7 and 2009-10 alone the Authority has driven an efficiency programme amounting to £17.9M of which £12.5M is cashable savings.

In the current climate, with guaranteed funding cuts on the horizon (although the extent of these are still under wraps), it seems highly questionable to abolish the very body that has the most experience in efficiencies and funding issues.

The Authority has considered the cost implications of the new proposals, which will inevitably land firmly on the wallet of the local council tax-payer one way or another. They are, it is believed, considerable. The cost of the elections alone has been conservatively estimated at approximately £50M although firmer figures are being prepared nationally. In addition, the salary of a PCC (another figure still to be unveiled by the Government), given the complexity of the role, will have to be commensurate with that of a Chief Constable or similarly qualified person. In addition, the PCC will appoint a support team of indeterminate size, the proposed Police and Crime Panel will inevitably have significant overheads of its own while the prospect of a referendum on the policing precept heralds further ill-considered and as yet unidentified costs.

At the current time there is no proven cost benefit in making these changes yet the Government has said this an age of austerity. We are struggling to identify the austerity in these plans. There may well be an appropriate time to consider new models for governance arrangements but we do not believe that is 2010.

3. Police Authority Visibility

The Government’s proposals state that Police Authority’s are largely invisible. However, a recent survey in Bedfordshire showed that 64% of the respondents knew about the Police Authority and our role.

This was not a huge surprise. We know from experience that members of the public contact us, particularly if there is a topical issue that they feel strongly about. The Authority also obtains a significant amount of coverage in the local media, which many people state as their preferred method of obtaining information.

In addition, all our Committee Meetings are open to the public, and Police Authority members take part in the local community safety forums all of which raises the visibility of members’ work.

4. Policing should remain Non-Political

The Authority has very real concerns that Directly Elected PCCs will lead to the politicisation of policing. As Chief Constables will be hired and fired by an individual who has been elected on a manifesto of aims, objectives and probably ambitious promises, it is hard to see where impartiality can lie when it comes to prioritisation.

Elected commissioners, on whatever mandate they achieve their status, will be obliged to be sympathetic to supportive groups. There will be concern about their own prospects of re-election and therefore it is likely that there will be push towards addressing high profile ‘populist’ crime instead of the underlying strategic issues.

The Authority is concerned that under the proposed arrangements, local policing priorities could become victim to party politics or single issue campaigns while underlying drivers such as serious and organised crime and counter terrorism will be downgraded.

The Authority believes that chief officers must not be driven by political whim or extremist views introduced as an election ticket and is concerned that consciously or unconsciously, it is likely that PCCs will wield influence over the way the county is policed.

There is also a significant level of concern that single issue pressure groups will be able to get representatives elected to this very powerful and influential position thanks to their ability to garner significant support from their own members. Already the BNP has confirmed that it has people interested in these positions and said it is highly likely it will stand in as many forces as it can.

5. One Person to Fit All?

The Police Authority, with its mix of independently appointed and locally elected councillor members, provides representation to the whole community. It also ensures that geographical, diversity and equality factors are taken into account. Can just one person do this?

The Police Authority offers the skills and experience of its 17 members. Amongst its membership are specialists in areas such as Audit, Finance, Human Resources, Equality and Diversity, whose expertise has helped improve policing in Bedfordshire. For example, Bedfordshire Police has retained its Investors in People accreditation and is acknowledged as an employer of choice. The levels of sickness have plummeted and modern management techniques have been introduced, freeing up officer time and putting patrols back out on the streets. Our elected (Councillor) Members listen to local people and understand their priorities, hence the focus on neighbourhood policing. How can one person deliver all this?

And how many people will actually vote for a PCC? Just 25% of the local electorate turned out to vote for the first Mayor of Bedford and by its own admission the Home Office is not sure of a high turn-out for Police Commissioners. Please, go on-line and take part in the poll on our website www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

In addition, we do not believe that people from under-represented groups will stand for election. The right to do so may exist, but logically they are unlikely to have the necessary party machinery or backing to physically undertake an election campaign. This again leads back to the fact that only those on a political ticket or with a well funded agenda will be able to stand.

6. Just for the Record – Vote Now

This is not a ‘save our role’ exercise. We strongly support reform where the benefits are plain to see, but we do not believe in change for change’s sake.

The commissioner, the support team and the Police and Crime Panel will between them take responsibility for areas such as:

  • Holding the Chief Constable to Account – Police Authorities already do this
  • Appointing and where necessary firing the Chief Constable – Police Authorities already do this
  • Representing and engaging local people to ensure that policing is available in and responsible to local communities’ needs – Police Authorities already do this
  • Driving collaboration – Bedfordshire Police Authority has led the way in collaboration
  • Commissioners will play a considerable role in community safety – the Police Authority already works with the local CSP

The consultation period closes on 20th September 2010. Please let the Government have your views.

We would also like to know whether you would or would not vote for a directly elected Police and Crime Commissioner – visit the website and answer the question on the homepage www.bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

Bedfordshire Police Authority
Bridgebury House, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK43 9AX.

Tel: 01234 842066

Email: info@bedfordshirepoliceauthority.co.uk

Bedfordshire Police Authority

Source: Bedfordshire Police Authority


Beware Distraction Burglars

This article was published in August 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police are warning elderly people to be on the look out for a pair of distraction burglars after three similar incidents in Dunstable, Barton-Le-Clay and Bedford.

On 31 July at around 11am in Chiltern Road, Dunstable, two offenders knocked on the door of the victim, an elderly blind man, and told him that a large tree in his garden needed cutting down. They asked him to go into the garden with them so they could describe the problems it is causing. While at the bottom of the garden one of the offenders has searched the house. The two men have then left saying they would return on another day to do the work. The victim has then discovered that cash, cheque book and documents had been stolen.

On 3 August at around 11am in Granville Street, Bedford, two men told the elderly victim that they would replace his loose guttering at the rear of his property. The victim has allowed the men into his house and shown them around. The men have left saying they will return in half an hour. When they have gone the victim has discovered money has been taken. In this case one of the men is described between 20-30 years old with fair hair, wearing light coloured sleeveless top and light coloured trousers.

On the 7 August around 11am Dunstall Road, Barton Le Clay offenders have attended the property and the victim has let the offenders in who have offered to cut the hedges. They have engaged the victim in conversation, and have removed money. The offenders have left in a small grey car. One offender was described as male; around 5 foot 7 inches tall, white, around 35 years old, fat, and had a local accent.

PC Ron Callender, investigating, said: “People should be wary of people calling at their homes offered to do work for them at low prices. They should not let strangers into their homes or leave them unattended. If anyone has any information about these burglaries or has suffered a similar theft they can contact me or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Follow this advice to protect yourself against distraction burglaries:

  • Always ask for photo identification from service or delivery people before letting them in - if you are worried, ask them to wait outside while you close the door and call their company.
  • If someone keeps you talking on the doorstep, be aware of any movement or activity in the rest of the house - before you answer the door, you should check all back doors, patio doors and windows are close and preferably locked.
  • Mark all your valuables with your house number and postcode - contact your Crime Reduction Team for more information.
  • Never keep a large amount of money in the house - keep in the bank or post office.
  • Don't keep your chequebook and cards in the same place - a thief could use the card to forge your signature on cheques.
  • Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true - a free holiday, cash prizes, cures for arthritis or cancer, or low-risk high-return investment schemes.
  • Don't buy goods or services from doorstep callers and NEVER let them into your home.

If you have any information about these crimes or other suspicious incidents or crimes, please call the Police Control Centre on (01234) 841212.

Alternatively text your message to (07786) 200011 or email your message to chc@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Chiltern/Northfields Ward Forum meeting

This article was published in June 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterThis is an invitation to attend the Ward Forum for the Chiltern and Northfields safer neighbourhood team.

The meeting will take place at the Dunstable Community Fire Station, on Thursday 24th June, at 6.00 p.m.

Please come along and meet the Partners that are working to improve your area.

The keys priorities for the area will be set at this meeting.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Op Meteor Continues Clamp Down on Riders

This article was published in June 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterPolice continue to clamp down on dangerous and anti social riders. The operation to target the illegal use of off road bikes and nuisance vehicles will continue throughout the summer.

Members of the Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard Safer Neighbourhood Teams have been out and about clamping down on nuisance motorcycles.

Officers recently carried out another Operation Meteor initiative and found themselves issuing 8 section 59 notices, a fixed penalty notice for driving elsewhere than on a road and seizing an off road bike.

Police warn that Operation Meteor will continue in Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Sundon, Barton, Caddington, Totternhoe, Leighton Buzzard ... together with other areas of Bedfordshire, to ensure those off road bikers who upset local residents and put themselves, families, walkers and horse riders at risk by using local footpaths and bridleways are stopped.

Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant, Darren Turney, said: “Members of the community can help by continuing to report any incidents they witness to the police.

“We will continue to use all resources at our disposal to apprehend people involved in this type of anti-social behaviour. If people are going to break the law, we will take action. People who continue to use their bikes illegally will see it seized and possibly destroyed.”

Anyone who knows who the offenders are can contact police, in confidence, on 01234 841212, Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or text 07786 200011.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire


Crime Prevention Event

This article was published in May 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Meet the Safer Neighbourhood Team

Information & Advice on Home/ Leisure and Personal Security.

Eaton Bray Village Hall Car Park, Eaton Bray on Sunday 16th May 2010 13:00 - 16:00.

ALL WELCOME


Man found dead at Eaton Bray house

This article was published in January 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Police were called to a house in Coral Close, Eaton Bray, at lunchtime on Monday, January 18, after the body of a man was found.

Officers went to the scene after receiving a call from a visitor to the property.

It is not believed that there are any suspicious circumstances regarding the death.

A post mortem and inquest will be held at a later date, once the next of kin have been informed.


Update 21-Jan-2010: An inquest was today opened following the death of 41-year old villager Stephen Carre, who died at his home on Monday 18th January. The cause of Mr Carre's death has been given as hanging. The inquest has been adjourned and will be resumed at a later date.


For the latest news from Eaton Bray and beyond, get the Dunstable Gazette every Wednesday and make a daily date with Dunstable Today.

Source: Dunstable Today


Police search for missing 20-year-old

This article was published in August 2009. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Natalie MaskellThames Valley Police are appealing for information on the whereabouts of a 20-year-old Eaton Bray woman who was reported as missing on August 5.

It is possible Natalie Maskell, aged 20, from Heather Mead, may have travelled to America, however police are appealing for any information to Natalie's whereabouts, in the UK or America, and about who she may be with.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Missing Persons Department at Aylesbury Police Station via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 0845 8 505 505.

If you do not want to talk to the police, call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Source: Bedfordshire Police Online


Latest from the Safer Neighbourhoods Team

This article was published in July 2009. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

The latest newsletter from the Safer Neighbourhoods Team is now available in the Neighbourhood Policing section.


Police Coffee Morning / Surgery

This article was published in May 2009. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

The Police will be holding two Coffee Morning / Surgery events in the area where everyone is welcome to go along to discuss Problems & Grievances and get General Advice including about Crime Prevention.

The events will be held as follows:

  • Wednesday 20th May 2009, 10.00 - 13.00
    The Coffee Tavern, Eaton Bray
  • Friday 22nd May 2009, 10.00 - 13.00
    The Memorial Hall, Totternhoe

Full details are available in poster form in the Neighbourhood Policing section.

In case you can't attend one, the police are happy to talk to Eaton Bray residents at the Totternhoe surgery as well as at the Eaton Bray surgery.


Escaped horse dies following car accident

This article was published in November 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Example of a 16-hand bayA horse had to be put down after it was involved in a collision with a car in Eaton Bray on Friday morning.

The accident happened around 6am after two horses had escaped from a field in The Comp during the early hours of the morning.

The animals had been wandering up and down the High Street, but their bid for freedom came to a sad end when both horses were in a collision with a Peugeot 106.

One horse, a 16-hand bay, suffered serious leg injuries and had to be put down at the scene; the other received a small cut to the mouth.

Police needed to cordon-off the road near to the junction with The Rye for two hours, to allow a vet to tend to the injured horse. The driver, who reported the accident, was not injured.


Van chase ends in hedge crash

This article was published in September 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Police have been hunting a driver who fled from the scene of a one-vehicle crash in Eaton Bray Road Northall, in the early hours of Friday.

A grey Ford Escort van overturned into a hedgerow and burst into flames but the motorist escaped the vehicle and ran off before police or firefighters could talk to him.

Leighton firefighters used thermal-imaging equipment to search the nearby undergrowth to check that he hadn't fallen injure.

Anyone with information about the crash, which happened shortly before 2am, should contact Leighton Police on 01234 841212.


Get the Leighton Buzzard Observer every Tuesday.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Today


Neighbours fighting crime together

This article was published in June 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Neighbourhood PolicingNeighbourhood Watch and Home Watch groups across South Bedfordshire have been urged to work more closely together to help fight crime.

The South Beds Home Watch Steering Group has been formed to help bring different schemes together, allowing good practice to be shared across the district, and to give local people a platform to tackle issues that affect them.

Alan Woolridge is secretary of the group and lives in Eaton Bray: "All we've got in South Beds is lots of individual groups who do what they feel they should do. What we're trying to do is build it up. All this is helping police make safer communities."

Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch schemes are community initiatives that are supported by the police but are owned and run by their members. Members can be sent circular email messages warning of recent crimes in their neighbourhood and steps to prevent becoming a victim.


To find out more about the steering group or joining a scheme, contact Brendan Murray, neighbourhood watch co-ordinator at Dunstable Police Station on 01582 473158 or by emailing brendan.murray@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk


Warning over thefts from vans and cars

This article was published in April 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A spate of thefts from cars and vans has been reported in rural areas near Luton and Dunstable.

Now the series of vehicle break-ins has sparked a police warning to traders and drivers.

There has been a rise in the number of vans broken into in the Barton and Silsoe areas in recent weeks. Power tools, including drills and circular saws, have been taken.

In Eaton Bray, more cars are being broken into and valuables have been stolen.

Det Con Richard Foulkes said: "We don't want to alarm motorists, simply to make them aware of this emerging pattern, so they can take the appropriate precautions and together, we can nip it in the bud."

Police advise traders to remove, where possible, all tools from vehicles at night and put the items in a secure place; ensure tools are security marked and adequately insured; fit vans with alarms, immobilisers and security chests; black out any windows and fit security grilles; back vans up to a wall to make it difficult for rear doors to be attacked; and attach stickers warning that no valuables are left in vehicles overnight.

Motorists are advised to park their cars inside a garage; fit security lights over driveways; remove valuables, including sat-navs, laptops and coats; use immobilisers or alarms; and fit index plates with tamper-proof screws.

Anyone with information that could help to catch the culprits should contact police, in confidence, on 01234 841212, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.


For the latest news from Eaton Bray and beyond, get the Dunstable Gazette every Wednesday and make a daily date with Dunstable Today.

Source: Anne O'Donoghue, Dunstable Today, 30 April 2008


Two hurt in Eaton Bray crash

This article was published in December 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Two people were taken to hospital after a crash in Harling Road, Eaton Bray, yesterday, December 6.

A Ford Focus and a Vauxhall Corsa were involved in the accident, which happened shortly after 3.30pm. Police went to the scene, and the road was closed for a time.

Bedfordshire Police


Beware! Bogus callers

This article was published in December 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

In July 2007, Beds Police launched a campaign called 'Second Generation', to get children, grandchildren, carers and neighbours thinking about older people and reminding them about the dangers of burglars and rogue traders. Posters and leaflets were distributed to relevant locations such as GP surgeries, nurseries, post offices, schools and parish councils.

Bedfordshire residents, particularly older and vulnerable people, need to be on their guard after a spate of burglaries in the county. Offenders have been pretending to be from utility companies, e.g. water, gas, electricity and phone, to bluff their way into your homes. They do this by keeping the occupier busy while an accomplice steals cash and valuables. Sometimes they even pose as Police officers.

Beds Police offer the following advice:

  • Use door chains and spy holes.
  • Always ask to see identification before letting someone into your home.
  • Do not keep large amounts of money at home.
  • Keep outside doors and windows locked.
  • Call the Police if you are in doubt about the identity of a caller.

Other nuisance callers include:

  • Cold callers: sales reps who turn up without an appointment and won't leave until you have signed a contract.
  • Rogue traders: unqualified workmen who often do jobs in your home badly and expensively. Victims are usually older people.

Anyone with information about bogus callers can contact Beds Police on 01234 841212, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. In an emergency dial 999.

Source: Focus, December/January 2008


Millions of us are at risk of identity fraud

This article was published in October 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

The calls come as part of the National Identity Fraud Prevention Week campaign which aims to educate consumers and businesses to the dangers of identity fraud.

Despite continuing efforts to combat identity fraud - still one of the UK's fastest growing crimes - a poll commissioned for the campaign showed that 75 per cent of UK adults have been personally affected, or have friends and family who have been affected, by identity fraud.

Over 19 million households regularly dump sensitive materials in their waste and recycling bins.

11 % throw away whole credit/debit card numbers - a combination of a complete card number with its associated expiry date and owner's signature was found in the waste and recycling of 13% of households.

A third of us are still throwing away everything a fraudster needs to steal a person's identity, including passports, driving licences, CVs, phone and utility bills.

DI Shane Roberts head of the Beds economic crime unit, said: "Identity fraud is a serious and growing problem which affects all our communities. From experience, we know that the best way to safeguard our personal information is through strong preventative measures, whether you're shopping online, or throwing out your bills."

Exclusive research carried out by Experian for National Identity Fraud Prevention Week showed that everyone, from the wealthiest and most creditworthy sections of society to council tenants and students were at risk.

Leaflets containing information on how to avoid identity theft are available from Beds Police Stations.

There are several ways ID fraudsters may potentially target consumers. These include: theft of personal documents or security information; stealing post from communal hallways; using mail which has not been re-directed after someone has moved; duping consumers to disclose personal details online; or bin raiding.

Further information on how to protect yourself, and how to cope if you are a victim of identity fraud. visit www.stop-idfraud.co.uk. or call freephone 00 800 1810 1810 to get a copy of the guide.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 9 October 2007


Police response under fire

This article was published in April 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Police may be promising to come down hard on nuisance motorcyclists in the area. But their response to them so far has been dubbed "absolutely farcical".

Last week it was announced that bikers who break the law could face having their bikes crushed.

But now a police spokesman has admitted that responding to calls about two-wheeled troublemakers quickly isn't always the top priority.

An angry Eaton Bray householder has said that her efforts to get the police on the case have so far been in vain.

Marion Heyland of Manton Road rang police last Monday because of the problems bikers were causing.

But she claimed that she didn't receive a response until several hours later, by which time the youngsters had moved on of their own accord.

"I'm concerned about the lack of response with the police," she said. "It's absolutely farcical."

Source: Dunstable Gazette, 11 April 2007


Hooligans damage cars in four roads

This article was published in August 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Cars parked in the High Street, School Lane, Wallace Drive and Knights Close had windows smashed and tyres slashed, leaving some owners with a bill for thousands of pounds.

Among the cars attacked were a Mercedes, Peugeot, Rover, Ford Focus and Mondeo.

Beds Police spokesman, Dave Cook, said: "This was mindless, wanton, criminal damage and we would like to speak to anyone who saw or heard anything that could help us catch the offenders."

Anyone with information is asked to telephone the divisional intelligence unit in confidence on 01234 841212, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 22 August 2006


Brave shopper thwarts robber

This article was published in June 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A customer sprung into action to stop a would-be thief from raiding an Eaton Bray off-licence for possible the second time in a month.

The Good Samaritan was in Threshers, in Eaton Bray High Street, when a man made a snatch for the takings on Sunday afternoon. After wrestling the thief's arm away from the cash the crook darted for the door and made his escape empty-handed.

The incident on Sunday afternoon was a carbon copy of another till snatch three weeks ago and police are investigating to see if they are linked.

A police spokesman said: "A person walkin in, picked up a can of lager, asked for cigarettes and when the shop assistant opened up the till he put his hand in the cash register.

"Thankfully a member of the public was there and pulled the man away and he ran off empty-handed."

The thief was descibed as blank, late 20s or early 30s, with a tatoo on his neck, stubble, and wearing sunglasses, cap and baggy clothes. It is a description similar to that given after the previous theft.

Anyone with information abouyt the thief or the till snatches should call DC Vicky Clarks on 01234 841212 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, 0800 555111.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 20 June 2006


Police get new power to deal with intimidation

This article was published in May 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Police are using new legislation to crack down on gangs of youths who blight the lives of people living in Eaton Bray.

From May 26, the village is to become the subject of an official dispersal order, meaning officers will have the power to move on groups whose behaviour is intimidating, harassing, alarming or causing distress to residents.

The order, which was approved by South Beds District Council, means individuals can be excluded from the area for up to 24 hours and arrested if they refuse to co-operate.

It also means police, who will continue to take action against anyone committing a criminal offence, can take home any under 16-year-old found unsupervised and causing problems after 9pm.

Beds Police beat manager PC Neville Johnson said the dispersal order is designed to prevent residents feeling threatened by groups hanging around public spaces and causing problems. It is not a curfew and law-abiding young people have nothing to fear.

Notices highlighting the order, which will last for six months, are being placed in shop windows, at entrances to the village and in the local press.

PC Johnson said: "Eaton Bray is not noted for having excessive levels of anti-social behaviour, although there have been problems with a minority of young people spoiling it for others.

"Dispersal orders are not used in isolation, but are part of an integrated series of measures implemented across the division to discourage anti-social behaviour.

"These measures include everything from test purchase operations to reduce under-age drinking to Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and more serious Anti-Social Behaviour Orders.

"With the holidays approaching, parents can help us by asking where their children are and what they are up to. It is also helpful to ensure there is no unsupervised access to alcohol in the home."

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 16 May 2006