Bedfordshire Police

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Bedfordshire Police
Bedfordshire Police Logo.jpg
MottoProtecting People and Fighting Crime Together
Agency overview
Preceding agencies
  • Bedfordshire Constabulary
  • Luton Borough Police
Annual budget£102.877m [1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionBedfordshire, England
England Police Forces (Bedfordshire).svg
Map of police area
General nature

Police constables1,115[2]
Special Constables230
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executive
  • Jon Boutcher QPM, Chief Constable
Significant operation(s)
  • Chiltern Air Support Unit

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 in Kempston, Bedfordshire.

As of September 2017, the force had a workforce of 1,136 police officers, 859 police staff, 63 police community support officers, 60 designated officers and 195 special constables.[3] In terms of officer numbers, it is the 8th smallest police force in the United Kingdom with the 5th smallest geographic area of responsibility.


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.[4]

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.[5]

On 11 June 2007 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.[6]


Bedfordshire Police has collaborated in the formation of several specialist units with Hertfordshire Constabulary and Cambridgeshire Constabulary including Major Crime, Dogs, Firearms and Roads Policing.

The force also leads regional units including Eastern Region Special Operations Unit and Eastern Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit with forces in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

In June 2015, the force implemented a new operating model – which comprises north and south bases and aims to increase the number of warranted officers in local communities.

Initiatives and controversies[edit]

Bedfordshire Police publish results of cases on their official website, such as a drug gang who were jailed for 39 years.[7]

Bedfordshire Police's cadets have recently[when?] scooped a national award for their outstanding contribution to helping to reduce crime and creating a safer community.[8]

In 2014 Bedfordshire Police took the unprecedented move to allow cameras into the force 24/7 to film a fly-on-the-wall documentary capturing some of the issues faced by police officers today. The last series ended in June 2016 but more episodes are planned for the near future.[9]

In July 2015, Bedfordshire Police was the first force in the country to secure a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) protection order. The court order allowed officers to seize the passports of two young girls who it was thought were being taken to Africa.[10]

On 15 November 2016, Bedfordshire Police posted a tweet to support Islamophobia Awareness Month. The image accompanying the tweet showed a hand with raised finger - a symbol used by ISIS (Daesh). The tweet was removed following complaints and Bedfordshire Police commented:

It has come to our attention the pointing finger logo used to illustrate social media posts around Islamophobia Awareness Month is similar to that used by ISIS. The logo was produced by a national charity and was used in good faith. As a consequence and to avoid offence, Bedfordshire Police has deleted these posts and will not tolerate Islamophobia or any other form of hatred or discrimination.'[11]


The force's 2016 to 2017 Budget was set at £101.483m.[12]

The workforce as of November 2015 consisted of:[12]

  • Chief Officer (ACPO) - 3
  • Chief Superintendent - 3
  • Superintendent - 9
  • Chief Inspector - 24
  • Inspector - 57
  • Sergeant - 161
  • Constable - 837
  • Total - 1,093
  • Civilians - 896
  • CSO's - 105

As of 2017, Bedfordshire Police are considering not responding to some low level crimes due to funding restrictions.[13] Kathryn Holloway stated that the force has made almost £35 million in cuts and would face further cuts of £11.4 million to £12.5 million over the coming four years “if things remain unchanged”.[14]


Like other UK police forces, Bedfordshire Police officers are not routinely armed. The force employs firearms officers to deal with firearms incidents in the area. However all (except PCSO's) officers are equipped with Hiatt Speedcuffs, PAVA incapacitant spray, Velcro fastwrap leg restraints and spit hoods. Some officers are also equipped with the TASER X2 Conductive Energy Device (CED) with very few officers carrying the TASERX26 CED which is due to be phased out.


The first Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner was Olly Martins, who was elected on 15 November 2012 and took office on 21 November 2012. The performance of 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, and two independent members. Before November 2012 the Bedfordshire Police Authority was the police governance. On 5 May 2016 Kathryn Holloway became the second Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner after winning the vote against Olly Martins and other candidates.

The "Our Force" control strategy determines operational priorities, helping Bedfordshire Police to protect people and fight crime.[15]

Chief Constables[edit]

  • 1840–1871 : Captain Edward M. Boultbee (1st Chief Constable of Beds)
  • 1871–1879 : Major Ashton Cromwell Warner
  • 1880–1910 : Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick J. Josselyn
  • 1910–1939 : Lt-Colonel Frank Augustus Douglas Stevens, CBE (accidentally shot in October 1939)
  • 1939–?? : Commander the Hon. R. D. Coleridge
  • 1940–1953 : Commander William John Adlam Willis
  • 1953–1966 : ???
  • 1966–1971 : Henry Prichard Pratt
  • 1971–1979 : Anthony Armstrong
  • 1979–1983 : William Sutherland
  • 1983–1985 : Sir Andrew Kirkpatrick Sloan
  • 1985–1996 : Alan Dyer [16](10th Chief Constable of Beds)
  • 1996–2001 : Michael O'Byrne
  • 2001–2005 : Paul Hancock [17]
  • 2005–2010 : Gillian Parker
  • 2011–2013 : Alf Hitchcock
  • 2013–2015 : Collette Paul
  • 2015– : Jon Boutcher


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Council tax information 2013-14". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2013". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2014.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Police workforce, England and Wales: 30 September 2017". GOV.UK. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  4. ^ Joyce Godber, History of Bedfordshire 1066-1888, Bedfordshire County Council, 1969, reprinted 1984, ISBN 0-907041-27-2, pp 479, 538-539.
  5. ^ The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965.
  6. ^ Nigerian charged with PC's murder, Daily Telegraph, 24 March 2009.
  7. ^[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "National Award". Archived from the original on 23 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  9. ^ "24hrs in Police Custody". Archived from the original on 22 July 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  10. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (17 July 2015). "Police obtain first FGM protection order". the Guardian.
  11. ^ "Police force deletes Twitter posts with 'ISIS hand gesture logo'".
  12. ^ a b "Summary - a Freedom of Information request to Bedfordshire Police". 4 October 2015.
  13. ^ Police 'to give up on minor crimes without major funding increase' The Guardian
  14. ^ "Bedfordshire Police 'may be forced to stop attending vehicle crime'".
  15. ^ "Control Strategy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Former Chief Constable dies at 71". Bedford Today. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Police chief announces retirement". BBC News. Retrieved 23 June 2018.

Further reading[edit]

A. F. Richer, Bedfordshire Police 1840-1990, Paul Hooley, 1990, ISBN 0-905095-27-8.

External links[edit]