Leighton’s ‘dedicated’ team polices other towns too

The Leighton Buzzard Sentinel team are headed up by Sgt Louise Bates (front)
The Leighton Buzzard Sentinel team are headed up by Sgt Louise Bates (front)

A team of officers thought to have been dedicated to policing anti-social behaviour in Leighton Buzzard is in fact being shared with Dunstable and Houghton Regis too.

Back in October it was reported that a brand new policing team headed by a sergeant and containing eight constables would given a more visible policing presence addressing priority issues such as drug dealing, nuisance youths, dangerous motorcyclists, and street drinking.

But one LBO reader claimed he had been told at the recent “meet the team” session in Leighton town centre, that the Sentinel officers were being used across the whole of Bedfordshire.

That turned out to be incorrect, but the Force has admitted that Leighton’s team do venture out to other Bedfordshire towns.

A spokesman said: “Bedfordshire Police’s Op Sentinel Central is a team based in Leighton Buzzard and their primary role is to enforce and engage in the Leighton Buzzard area, although the team also covers Houghton Regis and Dunstable.

“There is also an Op Sentinel team based in Luton covering the town and surrounding areas.”

At a recent meeting of Beds Police and Crime Panel this month, Central Beds and Town Councillor Amanda Dodwell pointed out that that had been a surge in anti-social behaviour in Leighton Buzzard.

Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, who has elected last year after pledging to bring more visible policing to the county, said that there had been a lot of work carried out to reduce anti-social behaviour in Houghton Regis “and this may have been the cause of increased ASB in nearby Leighton Buzzard”.

Councillor Dodwell also asked at the meeting when the community hub at the fire station in Leighton Buzzard would be fully operational.

She was told some officers were already operating from the hub and it would be fully operational by November 2017.

The hub would comprise one Inspector, one Sergeant and seven Officers, rising to eight Officers in April 2018.

She was told had been unforeseen delays as there was some uncertainty over the boundary of the land owned by the Fire Service.

Beds Police has been under fire of late.

On Thursday, HMIC released a report which said the Force was inadequate and the worst in the country.

And last week the LBO reported how a Leighton Buzzard man desperately called 999 while a colleague was being threatened with a metal bar and said the police took over 24 hours to turn out.

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