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The force says...

At 477 square miles and with 664,500 people Bedfordshire is one of England’s smallest yet most diverse counties. 23% of residents are from minority ethnic backgrounds. Few towns outside London host greater ethnic diversity than Luton and Bedford. These contrast with market towns and rural parishes. Bedfordshire’s population grew by over 11% since 2001.

London Luton Airport (the UK’s fifth busiest) handled nearly 16 million passengers in 2016. The M1 and A1(M) motorways traverse the county. Two principle railway lines connect people with the heart of London in less than an hour.

Bedfordshire has a complex mix of volume crime, serious crimes, drugs, gangs and terrorism threats. Every day police officers meet threats, harm and risks like those in large cities. In the year to December 2017 the force recorded over 46,800 crimes (up 9%) and answered over 487,000 calls for service (up over 10%).

Bedfordshire Police’s community, response and investigation teams serve the unitary authorities of Luton, Bedford and Central Bedfordshire from two operational hubs. Strategic leadership of regional intelligence and investigation helps the force meet risks linked to extremism and organised crime. Large scale recruitment of new police officers and PCSOs has swelled the Force’s community and response teams. The force has continued to build capacity to manage the complex and increasing demands for safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, child exploitation, missing people, domestic abuse and cybercrime. The force has received national recognition for its recruitment of police officers from minority ethnic groups.

Among all English police forces, Bedfordshire receives one of the lowest government grants per head of population. It is in the lowest quartile for budget and police officers per head of population, and for council tax levels. Bedfordshire is addressing its challenges through radical internal change and service-leading collaborations with neighbouring and regional police forces.

Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by Bedfordshire Police. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMICFRS.