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Chief Inspector honoured by the Queen for work to improve community relations

31 Dec 2020

A Bedfordshire Police Chief Inspector who brought communities together and paved the way for cohesive policing nationally has been recognised by the Queen.

Chief Inspector Hob Hoque has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire  (MBE) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

In 2013, at a time when there were significant tensions between the police and communities in Luton, Chief Inspector Hoque was asked to lead on Community Cohesion for the force and restructured the unit.

Over the following years he worked tirelessly to build strong and lasting relationships with communities and partners across the town and wider county to rebuild trust and confidence in us.

He also helped overhaul the way the force addresses concerns within local communities, playing a pivotal role in introducing independent scrutiny panels, restructuring the force’s Independent Advisory Group (IAG) and encouraging input from members of the public.

The force’s Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said: “I am delighted Hob has been recognised for his hard work and his deep-rooted dedication to community policing.

“In Bedfordshire, we have a diverse, multi-faith, multi-cultural demographic. Hob’s work was vital in building relationships and trust and bridging the gap between police and communities.

“With a comprehensive knowledge of local communities, strong relationships with partners and the ability to listen and understand concerns, his style of policing and commitment has left a lasting, positive impression on communities across Bedfordshire, and has shaped the way our officers connect and engage with people.”

Luton Borough Council leader, Councillor Hazel Simmons MBE, added: “Hob has been outstanding in his service to the communities throughout Luton.

"This honour is totally deserved, recognising the dedication and commitment he has shown throughout his work.

"He has been tireless and selfless in his service to our residents. On behalf of Luton Borough Council, we offer our warmest congratulations.”

Bedfordshire Chief Fire Officer, Paul Fuller CBE, said: "I am delighted to see Chief Inspector Hob Hoque honoured by being made an MBE.

"His personal commitment, style and leadership are a shining example in cohesion and Hob lives what community policing means and his recognition is very well deserved."

Chief Inspector Hoque was influential in bringing together a stop and search community scrutiny panel in 2017, and this year worked on establishing another community panel to scrutinise our use of force. 

This is where independent panel members review the actions and behaviour of all parties involved before grading the use of force by officers.

The stop and search community scrutiny panel reviews footage of stop searches carried out by police, as well as how often these powers are used on people from different backgrounds.

Montell Neufville, the stop and search panel chairman, said: "It is great news to hear that Chief Inspector Hob Hoque has received an MBE.

"I have known Hob for many years. He has worked closely with myself on the stop and search community scrutiny panel, helping to establish the forum and helping to put in place structures that led to officer engagement.

"He supported one of the largest best practice sharing conferences outside London on stop and search which we held in Kempston Police HQ. In addition, he then worked with us to set up a use of force panel.

"Throughout the time I have known him he has been supportive, willing to have conversations after very busy shifts and to problem solve at all hours. I'm pleased he has been chosen and would like to offer him my congratulations." 

As well as addressing community tensions, Chief Inspector Hoque’s work also brought a diverse range of communities and cultures together to celebrate positive community work and spirit across Bedfordshire.

In 2012, he hosted our first community cohesion awards and the event has continued to grow in size. Over the years the event has praised, supported and connected hundreds of local residents, charities, services, businesses and partners.

Chief Inspector Hoque said: “I’m truly honoured and humbled to receive such an accolade of this nature. I believe Bedfordshire is a unique place to live and work - the community spirit across the county is second to none.

“I would not have been able to take cohesion to a national platform without some wonderful people who supported me through my journey, and I would like to say a huge thank you to my team members and the community for everything they have done, and continue to do, for me.”

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