Beds Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins said he wants the power to raise council tax to help him execute his five-point plan for a safer Houghton Regis and wider area.
Speaking at a meeting of Houghton Regis Town Council on Monday (October 7), Mr Martins called Beds Police a “vulnerable force” due to its current financial situation.
He also said that police stations in Beds could close in a bid to help make £7.5million savings in the next two years due to the recent Government cuts.
Mr Martins said: “Because of our finances we are a vulnerable force.”
The first improvement in his five-point plan is collaboration – working with neighbouring police forces to “achieve efficiencies and save money”.
The second is volunteering – Mr Martins said he wants to bring communities together with their police force in a throwback to the basics of British Policing.
He added: “I’m very keen on people becoming special constables. This is not about reducing officers – special constables bring insights from their day-to-day life and that enriches the police force.”
The third point will be requesting the power to increase council tax precepts – a move Mr Martins conceded will “go down like a cup of cold sick”.
He said: “Central Government is the architect of our financial situation and we want a fair slice of the pie.
“Our pattern of crime is one only the likes of Manchester, Merseyside and London have to deal with, but our local police contribution is a modest amount compared with other parts of the country – we pay less, but we get less.”
The fourth improvement will be to provide officers with improved IT equipment such as tablet devices, as the current system is “wasteful”.
Mr Martins added: “This will mean officers don’t have to go back to the station to fil statements or check information. It won’t mean much of a saving, but it will address the visibility issues some people have with the police force.”
The final point of the plan is the reshuffling of estates. As police stations in Beds cost £3million per year to run, Mr Martins has identified this as a key area to make savings.
He said: “This is an opportunity to make police more accessible.
“Our stations are in the wrong place. Could we put the force in places where people actually go?
“Possibly some police stations will close, but this is not about the force withdrawing from communities.”
Mr Martins spoke positively about the recent lifting of a three-year recruitment freeze, a restriction he said “has hit local policing the hardest”.
He said: “We can’t fully get back to the old model, but we will recapture some of that strength.
“The police force will become more visible, which out of all the feedback I get is the most important issue.”