There was a high turnout at a public meeting in Leighton Buzzard hosted by Conservative PCC candidate Kathryn Holloway yesterday.
Balancing the needs of the town against those of Bedford and in particular Luton was among the items foremost in discussion.
Mrs Holloway said: “What’s seriously wrong here in my view is that you’ve lost your visible police community and your local policing.”
A TV journalist-turned-businesswoman, Mrs Holloway described years of working with police officers on national news stories.
She said: “I’m not attacking the police force when I’m standing in front of you. I reported things when they went very wrong... In the 1980s it was a very different time in policing, it was a much more brutal time.
“I hadn’t been out on ‘ride along’ in a long while, I have been absolutely blown away by the individual professionalism of police officers and the sheer level of tolerance given the language and threats that are made to them.”
Should she be elected on May 5, Mrs Holloway promised a policing hub for seven areas including Leighton Buzzard and a project called ‘Boost the Front Line’. She told the meeting that through financial planning, she could introduce new recruits to Beds Police and remove officers from deskwork.
One of Mrs Holloway’s trump cards, she said, was a deal with a US company to introduce advanced media technology to the force.
She said: “So that the police force – wherever they are – can be shown instantly on their phone or their tablet a vulnerable missing person. They can be shown instantly details of people who are wanted.
“A company I know ... has offered me technology for Beds Police to trial it, for the police and for communities like yours free of charge to show people that it works.
“It’s a platform that other people can join on to the system ... other authorities can use it.”
Mrs Holloway said she was shocked to find officers using old A-Zs on emergency calls.
Other pledges included a crackdown on long-term sickness and absenteeism in the force, and a new deal made with Luton airport – which she argued detracted from neighbourhood policing.
Several members of the public spoke out at the meeting, two of them describing burglaries where they had caught the offenders in the act.
One attendee told Mrs Holloway that her support would come from areas such as Leighton Buzzard, as opposed to Olly Martins’ support base in what he termed, “The Socialist Republic of Luton”.