PCC to review Houghton Regis funding of extra officers

PCC Olly Martins
PCC Olly Martins

Police and crime commissioner Olly Martins has said that he will press for answers on whether residents in Houghton Regis are getting the extra policing they are paying for.

Through the town council, residents pay £33,000 a year for additional weekend patrols – on top of cash which Beds Police already receives from council tax precepts.

However questions have been raised over the frequency of the extra patrols Houghton Regis is supposed to receive, as the cash-strapped force is struggling to muster officers to cover the shifts.

When asked in an online Q&A session if the town council is getting value for money from the deal, Mr Martins said concerns over the arrangement are ‘valid’.

He added: “I have commissioned an enquiry via my office to establish the crime rates and police attendance levels in Houghton Regis.

“I think it is important that where local communities make an extra contribution, they receive the services they have paid for.”

Houghton Regis Town Council’s deal with Beds Police is similar to the arrangement the force has with Leighton-Linslade Town Council, which pays £40,000 a year for extra officers.

In a statement Mr Martins told the Gazette that Beds Police’s move to its ‘fast-fixed’ operating model last June had caused changes to outstanding agreements.

Mr Martins said: “I have asked the force for an update as deployment of resources really is an operational matter.

“I am aware that while the new operational model has been embedding, there have been some fluctuations in community policing presence which is to be expected, but I’m confident that as we move forward the community policing footprint will improve in all areas.”