|Motto||Fighting Crime, Protecting the Public|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Operations jurisdiction*||Ceremonial county of Bedfordshire in the country of England, United Kingdom|
|Map of police area|
|Police and Crime Commissioner responsible||Olly Martins|
|Agency executive||Colette Paul QPM, Chief Constable|
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
Bedfordshire Police, is the territorial police force responsible for policing the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire in England, which includes the unitary authorities of Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton. Its headquarters are based in Kempston, Bedfordshire.
A professional police force was established in Bedfordshire in 1839, under the County Police Act 1839, replacing the earlier system of elected parish constables. It initially comprised a chief constable, who was based in Ampthill, 6 superintendents and 40 constables. Constables were paid 19 shillings a week, which was nearly twice the typical wage of an agricultural labourer in the county at that time.
There was an independent Luton Borough Police from 1876 to 1947, and then from 1964 to 1966, when it amalgamated with Bedfordshire Constabulary, which was then known as the Bedfordshire and Luton Constabulary until 1974. In 1965, Bedfordshire Constabulary had an establishment of 497 and an actual strength of 430.
However, in July 2006 Prime Minister Tony Blair signalled that police force mergers will not be forced through by the central government, and given the amount of local opposition to such mergers it is not expected that any voluntary mergers will occur.
On 11 June 2007, one of its officers, PC Jon Henry, was fatally stabbed whilst on duty in the town centre of Luton by a Nigerian immigrant, Tennyson Obih. Obih was convicted of his murder, along with the attempted murder and wounding with intent of two other men that he stabbed on the same morning.
In October of that year, Bedfordshire Police Force was rated the worst performing force in England and Wales. According to a league table based on Home Office figures, it was rated "poor" in terms of "protecting vulnerable people, implementation of neighbourhood policing, and local priorities".
Proposals made by the Home Secretary in March 2006 would have seen Bedfordshire Police merge with neighbouring forces Hertfordshire Constabulary and Essex Police to form a strategic police force. The proposals did not go through. However, in 2007 the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Police forces set up a joint major crime unit, followed by further collaboration in 2009 when the two forces instituted a joint dog unit, and joint departments for professional standards and scientific services. A complete merger of the two forces was proposed but voted against in 2010, although they have continued to merge more of their individual services.
Bedfordshire Police publish results of cases on their official website such as the drug gang who were jailed for 39 years.
The first Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner is Olly Martins, who was elected on 15 November 2012 and took office on 21 November 2012. The police and crime commissioner is scrutinised by the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel, made up of elected councillors from the local authorities in the police area. Before November 2012 the Bedfordshire Police Authority was the police governance.
A typical police car seen in Bedfordshire
- Joyce Godber, History of Bedfordshire 1066-1888, Bedfordshire County Council, 1969, reprinted 1984, ISBN 0-907041-27-2, pp 479, 538-539.
- The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965.
- Blair accused of wasting police time on mergers, Daily Telegraph, 13 July 2006.
- Nigerian charged with PC's murder, Daily Telegraph, 24 March 2009.
- BBC News, Bedfordshire police 'rated worst'.
- Home Office and HMIC, Police Performance Assessments 2006/07.
- BBC News, Police forces 'to be cut to 24'.
- BBC News (21 February 2009). "Forces join three more services"
- Lennon, Chris (27 October 2010). "Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire police merge more services". Welwyn Hatfield Times
A. F. Richer, Bedfordshire Police 1840-1990, Paul Hooley, 1990, ISBN 0-905095-27-8.
- Official Website
- The complete Roll of Honour for Bedfordshire Police compiled by the Police Roll of Honour trust