The force has taken very sensible precautions to maintain service to you, not only arranging for as many staff as is practically possible to work from home but dividing up both call handlers and 999 and 101 Response officers in different locations around the estate to try to ensure that no section of police business is wholly impacted by this unprecedented situation.
For my part, I am acutely aware that Domestic Abuse rises in circumstances when people are in enforced contact. For this reason, I have set aside £60,000 as an accommodation fund for those needing emergency respite and my office has connected with our partners who run refuge and other support services so that they are aware of this.
The Signpost victim support hub continues to work on the usual freephone number to offer support to those affected by crime, on 0800 0282 887. Callers are asked to leave a message and our specialist victim care coordinators will get back to them.
My office is operating an emergency parcel delivery service for the most vulnerable elderly people, identified by our charitable and grant funded partners, using the vehicles of the Bobby Van home security charity scheme in the first instance and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has volunteered to continue to distribute the parcels if the regular staff are unable to do so.
A duty of care to the officers and staff of Bedfordshire Police is a key concern of mine and my Chief of Staff, Clare Kelly, has helped to source protective masks, aprons and anti-bacterial products to assist the force while a continuous supply chain of such items was being set up. I remain prepared to fund additional items if requested and if available to purchase.
I am opening the remainder of my grants commissioning fund to bids next week as I had left a further £240,000 for my successor to distribute. I am particularly keen to hear from any organisation able to offer diversionary activities for young people in crime hotspots or targeted support for victims of crime via online contact, given the requirement for social distancing for the foreseeable future.
I am self-isolating like so many others as my husband has an underlying health issue which makes him vulnerable in case of infection with Covid-19 but please rest assured that I am in constant contact with both my office and Bedfordshire Police’s Executive team.
Although I had intended to stand down as your Police and Crime Commissioner at the election planned for 7 May 2020, since this has been delayed for a year, I have put my professional plans on hold as I think you deserve an elected figure, chosen by you at the ballot box, in the role as a Caretaker PCC for such a long period.
Please stay home as far as humanly possible to stay safe.