Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye apologized for not showing up to a meeting to discuss his police and crime plan.
The county police and crime panel had to revamp its question-and-answer session with the CCP after its no-show last week.
An extraordinary panel meeting was held yesterday (Thursday, August 19) in which it “shared its deep regret over last week’s misunderstanding, for which I take full responsibility as the CCP.”
He told the panel: “I will not point the finger at anyone or any group of people. The responsibility ends with me.
“I should have understood better and I’m happy to be here anyway.”
Goldington’s Liberal Democrat adviser Tim Caswell thanked the CCP for its “gracious apologies” to the panel, saying, “It restored a lot of goodwill.”
There are seven priority areas in the CCP’s police and crime plan for the next three years. These are:
> investing in community and community-led policing for urban and rural areas;
> recruitment and retention of police officers;
> tackle the root causes of crime and break the cycle of recidivism;
> place residents and victims at the center of police priorities;
> multi-agency and transparent approach to community safety and crime reduction;
> transparency and open communication;
> and national contributions and engage in strategic performance review.
Referring to rape convictions being “notoriously low,” Councilor Caswell asked the CCP for his views on “current conviction rates” and what can be done to improve them.
Mr Akinbusoye replied: “My clear view of where they are is nowhere near good enough. It is shocking.
“To have met and known women who have been raped, and to have seen them since I have been in this role, to hear what they have gone through is heartbreaking.
“I am absolutely committed to ensuring that we have the necessary resources so that the victims of this horrific crime receive all the support they need immediately.
“From the instance where they report the incident to the way they are treated by our officers, this is the way it should be. Also, the way we convict these people (rapists) and lock them up is carried out. correctly.
“The biggest concern I have about this now is the serious backlog issue in our courts.
“Covid didn’t help that at all,” he explained. “We have these victims you need to be part of an investigation.
“The longer an investigation and the longer the delays, the abandonment rate is simply astonishing. So we are now working on the case for the opening of the Nightingale courts.
“I need to have a discussion with the Courts Department to see what we can do to speed this up. But the backlog is something that concerns me a great deal at the moment.”
Councilor Caswell added: “Bedford does not have a courthouse and those accused of crimes and very vulnerable witnesses often cannot make it to Luton.”
The CCP said, “We are currently working through one of the victim support services to see what more can be done to inform witnesses or victims of the different options available to them when they are. present in court.
“There are now procedures in place where they can give a statement, so that they can testify remotely and where they can give their pre-recorded witness statement.
“I’m not sure these options are made clear to victims early enough that they say, ‘I don’t want to go up against this guy in court.’
“In fact, there are ways around this without jeopardizing the charge.”
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This notice was published: 2021-08-20 14:03:24