Bedfordshire Police to get £6m government cash to combat drugs, exploitation and organised crime

It will be split between the force’s Boson and Costello teams
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Bedfordshire Police is set to get £6.3 million from the Home Office to combat drugs, violence, exploitation and organised crime.

The cash will be split between the force’s Boson and Costello teams, which between them have made close to 1,000 arrests, seized millions of pounds worth of drugs and taken dozens of firearms off the streets.

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Boson – established in 2018 – leads the response to gangs and gun crime in the county and officers are heavily involved in partnership safeguarding and protecting young people from violence and exploitation.

Boson’s successes:

Taken 47 illegal firearms off the streets

Arrested 833 people

183 offenders jailed for a total of 621 years

Launched in spring 2020, Operation Costello is the force’s biggest ever operation to tackle serious and organised crime across the county.

It comes after law enforcement cracked the Encrochat communications network used exclusively by criminals. A significant number of people were found to be using this network in Bedfordshire.

Costello’s successes

119 arrests

36 people jailed for a total of 258 years so far

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Almost 20 kilos of Class A drugs and 64 kilos of cannabis seized

Over £3 million in criminal assets investigated

Festus Akinbusoye, Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner, said: “This is a major boost for our ongoing work to tackle organised crime and disrupt county lines activity in our county.

“Whilst this special grant is not a permanent funding arrangement, it is however an acknowledgement of the unique situation we face in Bedfordshire by the government.”

Detective chief superintendent Duncan Young added: “These specialist teams are working tirelessly to disrupt organised criminal activity and tackle gang related crime in all areas of the county.

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“At the core of this work is relentlessly pursuing those involved in the illegal drugs market. This is consistently the gateway through which young people are exploited into a life of crime, as well as driving violent crimes including the use of firearms, knives and other weapons.”