A Leighton Buzzard councillor has stood by her criticisms of Beds PCC Kathryn Holloway after the latter accused her of ‘misleading the public’.
Cllr Amanda Dodwell issued a further response after the PCC took issue with previous comments she had made, reported here.
In a statement to the LBO, Cllr Dodwell said: “I do not accept that I have misled the public in any way.
“The PCC was very clear during her election campaign that she would be prioritising policing in market towns and rural areas.
“She was also very specific that Leighton Buzzard would have a Police Enquiry Desk. I think the residents of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade are able to decide if these promises have been delivered on.
“The PCC questions my motivation; it is very simple, I want to get a fair deal for the residents of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade. We pay a lot of money to Bedfordshire Police and there is a generally held perception that we are not getting sufficient policing in return. I, together with many of my colleagues on both the Town Council and CBC, have actually listened to the concerns of the Town’s residents.
“When the PCC brings her ‘roadshow’ to the town later this month it will be an opportunity for her to meet residents and hear directly how the lack of policing in Leighton Buzzard is impacting on residents. As an aside, it is regrettable that the chosen date falls within the Summer holiday period, and that it coincides with a major Town Council meeting.
“The role of the Police and Crime Panel is to hold the PCC to account, and this includes receiving briefings from the PCC and her senior officers; however, there is a huge gulf between receiving a briefing and endorsing it.
“And unfortunately, ‘holding the PCC to account’ does not extend to directing the PCC or influencing their actions. If it did then I hope things would be very different. In fact, I have not served on that Panel for over a year.
“Before 2012, we had a model where the Chief Constable was directly answerable to the Police Authority; I do not believe that the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners has improved public accountability or in any way improved the policing we receive.
“To be frank, the £70K which we spend on the PCC’s salary, and the additional monies spent on the support of the PCC function, would all be better spent on front line officers.”