Plans to put sponsorship on police uniforms and vehicles are being seriously considered, crime commissioner Olly Martins has admitted,
On Tuesday Mr Martins told the Home Affairs Select Committee that unless he is given extra funding for the force, he will have no other option but to seek other means of income.
As well as commercial sponsorship the PCC may use his powers to permanently turn on variable speed cameras between M1 junctions 10 and 13.
At present the cameras are only active when speed restrictions are in place.
Mr Martins said: “I am running out of levers to pull to keep Bedfordshire Police financially viable. We’ve had a council tax referendum.
“We’ve extensively lobbied the Home Office for fair funding but they haven’t listened and the Chancellor’s spending review at the end of the month means we face more cuts.
“Strict enforcement of the speed limit could raise £1million and to me that’s better than losing 25 more police officers.
“I want to ensure the police are there when people need them but Bedfordshire Police is already stretched to the limit.
“We have just 169 police officers per 100,000 population as against a national average figure of 232 and 388 in London.
“Yet we have the 4th highest level of gun crime per head, 5th highest level of burglary, robbery and vehicle crime, 7th highest level of knife crime, together with a high terror threat and organised crime problem. That’s why I am prepared to take desperate measures to avoid reducing our already anaemic police numbers.
“However, motorists staying within the speed limit – whether that is 70mph or less - will not be affected, only those breaking the law.
“In addition to the speed cameras option – I am also prepared to examine selling sponsorship of our police uniforms and vehicles. To those who say this is not the way they want things to go I say sign our petition calling on the government to adequate funding for Bedfordshire Police. We have to make them listen.”
> To view Mr Martins’ petition click here