Raise Bedfordshire Police's annual budget by at least £10 million to protect our community
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At a well-attended public meeting of Dunstable and Houghton Regis residents on 22nd August, Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Jon Boutcher reiterated his professional opinion that the force is critically underfunded. Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, also present, agreed. She expressed the view that Bedfordshire Police will require at least another £10 million a year in operational funding to recruit additional officers to meet the needs of the rapidly growing local population. Chief Constable Boutcher has made similar estimates on the record in recent years.
While a recent budget increase of £2 million is certainly to be welcomed, it does not go nearly far enough to solve Bedfordshire Police’s chronic staffing problems. The force’s remit covers several major population centres and a large airport, and yet it is still characterised as a rural force. 1,126 police officers are expected to serve a population of 670,000 people, which is soon to expand by an additional 50,000. This has placed unacceptable pressure on our Police, as they cannot recruit enough officers to cope with rising demand.
South West Bedfordshire Labour urges Home Secretary Sajid Javid to reconsider Chief Constable Boutcher’s plea for the additional funding necessary to bring up Bedfordshire Police numbers to an adequate level to maintain law and order in our community.
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