Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner set to recruit a deputy

The Home Office has recommended that all commissioners should have a deputy

By John Guinn, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 2:56 pm

Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye, has announced that he will be looking for a deputy PCC to help to him to provide an oversight of the county’s police force.

Commissioner Akinbusoye, a Conservative, said the deputy role will be open to anyone.

“I don’t care about your politics,” he said.

Festus Akinbusoye

“Now my guys [the Conservative Party] probably won’t be entirely enamoured by that, but I’m doing this my way.

“If I end up appointing somebody who’s a Conservative or Labour or whatever, that’s entirely my prerogative.

“I want somebody who’s got the experience, who is passionate about helping to deliver on the ambitious police and crime plan, who is passionate about helping to build links with local authorities, because we need to do a lot more of that than has been done in the past,” he said.

The PCC said this new role is not part of Home Office plans to extend the role of commissioners to oversee fire services.

“The Home Office has now recommended that all commissioners should have a deputy, and we’ll just have to do that,” he said.

“One of the first letters I received from Kit [Malthouse, the Minister for Policing] was about that, he said ‘if you don’t have a deputy you need to have one in place’.

The PCC said he is aware that some residents may question the need for a deputy, which will may be a part-time role, and will say that he already gets paid a fortune for holding the force to account.

“Yes, I get paid a lot,” he said. “And I’m working hard to make sure that I live up to the expectations of the public.”

With special grants, the PCC said the force has a budget of around £150million.

“To make them account for every single penny that they’re spending and how they’re spending it, you can’t do that on a shoestring,” he said.

“You need expertise to be able to keep these guys accountable.

“I mean they are all good, I genuinely mean it that they are all very good, but they have so many competing priorities, after all, they’re police officers

“But someone has got to go to them and say, ‘stop, why are you doing that? Where did that money go? Why is that being done? Show me the benefit you got from that investment you made in that, did you consider this?’

“And you can’t do that on the cheap.

“I understand some people have the cynicism about commissioners and what they do.

“But having been in the job now for just under a year, I am even more confident now that whatever form it takes there needs to be a kind of oversight of policing.

“Policing is too powerful, is too big, is too important to be left to police officers alone.

“It’s just too important,” he said.

The deputy PPC job advert will be published in the next week or two.