PCC to address Houghton Regis crime concerns at meeting

PPC Olly Martins
PPC Olly Martins

PCC Olly Martins and two senior Beds Police officers are to hold a meeting in Houghton Regis tomorrow night (Thursday) – in a bid to ease worries over the levels of crime in the town.

Last week the Gazette revealed concerns that residents in Houghton Regis were not getting value for money on a deal in place to pay the force £33,000 a year for extra patrols.

These worries have come to the fore since Beds Police moved to a ‘fast-fixed’ operating model last June, which has caused a number of changes to neighbourhood arrangements.

For Houghton Regis it has meant difficulties in securing officers to cover additional shifts the town council has paid for.

Mr Martins said: “I have been picking up worries about policing in the Houghton Regis area for some months now, face-to-face from residents, from town and Central Beds councillors and on social media.

“Some of the concern relates to changes in the processes being implemented as part of the new force operating model.

“The meeting will provide an opportunity to reassure residents about the new structure and how it is helping to deliver improvements, such as better police emergency response times and a 40% reduction in burglary in Houghton Regis in the last 12 months.”

Mr Martins added that the force will be recruiting more officers in the coming months, but would remain short staffed due to “chronic underfunding”.

The way around this is to further strengthen the relationship between the police and residents in Houghton Regis , he said.

Part of tomorrow night’s discussions will centre around Operation Meteor – the force’s crackdown on nuisance bikes.

At the time of writing Beds Police has received 340 email reports of nuisiance biker sitings, which have led to 12 vehicles being seized and several arrests.

> Tomorrow’s meeting will take place at St Vincent’s Social Centre from 7pm.