Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedfordshire Police 'needs extra funding to fight terrorism'

Bedfordshire Police needs extra money to fight terrorism, one of Britain's most senior police figures has said.

On 7 May Bedfordshire residents will vote on proposals to raise the police precept by 15.85%.

Sir Hugh Orde, retiring president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the extra money was needed.

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins said a "yes" vote would fund 100 new officers.

Under the proposals, which would add about £25 a year to a Band D council tax bill, the extra officers would shore up the constabulary's neighbourhood policing team.

Image caption Sir Hugh Orde says community policing is vital in fight against terrorism

Speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio, Sir Hugh said neighbourhood policing was "more critical now because of the new style of terrorism than it ever has been."

He said: "The self-appointed terrorist who then decides to self-deploy will not be spotted by police officers in the normal routine of their working day.

"They will be spotted by their communities and the more confidence they have in their community policing team the more likely they are to say something."

Sir Hugh said reductions in the police budget over the last five years had already squeezed police forces, and further savings would hit front-line services.

A YouGov poll commissioned by Mr Martins suggests 70% of residents will reject the idea.

The PCC said other research showed "strong support" for the rise.

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