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#035/2010 – Bedfordshire Police Authority is ‘performing adequately’

Bedfordshire Police Authority is ‘performing adequately’, according to an independent new report released today by the Audit Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

On a scale from one to four the joint inspection team assessed the Authority’s performance as ‘two’, which represents adequate performance.

Inspectors found that Bedfordshire Police Authority has significantly developed its capacity and capability in the last three years. This has helped it challenge the Police Force more robustly and increased its influence in setting the strategic direction of the Force. The Authority is recognised nationally for its strong promotion of collaborative working to achieve value for money. The way in which the Authority engages with the public is adequate and improving.

Bedfordshire Police Authority comprises 17 members (nine councillors and eight independent members), and employs eight staff.

The Audit Commission’s Nigel Smith, spokesperson for the joint inspection team, said:

‘Bedfordshire residents can be confident that their Police Authority provides good leadership, scrutiny of and challenge to the county’s Police Force. The Authority is already strongly focused on ensuring value for money and is recognised nationally for its strong promotion of collaborative working. At the same time it ensures the Force provides the services local people need. With a tough financial climate ahead it needs to have a clear long-term plan to enable it to make hard choices about policing priorities, funding and spending. The inspection shows that the Authority is well-placed and motivated to meet future challenges.’

Strengths include:

  • Capability and capacity within the Authority has been strengthened enabling it to improve scrutiny and challenge the Force.
  • The Authority actively listens to Bedfordshire residents and uses this knowledge to set priorities.
  • The Authority strongly promotes collaboration with other police forces, which has led to significant savings.

Areas for improvement include:

  • The Authority should clarify what is most important for the Force through improved communication of its priorities.
  • The Authority needs to set a longer term plan for the Force which sets out the levels of performance it expects to achieve.
  • Aspects of performance monitoring need to be strengthened, for example reports should be less detailed and activity should have targets.

Following today’s report, Bedfordshire Police Authority will plan what it needs to do to improve its services to meet the changing needs of its communities.

Copies of the report are available from Bedfordshire Police Authority or from the Audit Commission website at and the HMIC website /Inspections/Pages/PoliceAuthorityInspections.aspx.


Notes to editors

  1. Bedfordshire Police Authority is an independent body responsible for overseeing the Force. It represents the community and, in partnership with the Chief Constable, ensures that an efficient and effective policing service is provided to the people of Bedfordshire.
  2. Police authority inspection provides a simple report in a straightforward way about how well each police authority is performing. It encourages police authorities to focus on continuous improvement and provides a robust independent challenge to stimulate positive change. Ultimately it is about working to improve the quality of services police authorities provide to local people.
  3. The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog, driving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local public services to deliver better outcomes for everyone. Our work across local government, health, housing, community safety and fire and rescue services means that we have a unique perspective. We promote value for money for taxpayers.
  4. On 13 August 2010 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced that he plans to disband the Audit Commission. His intention is to have new arrangements in place for auditing England’s public bodies by 2012/13.
  5. For more details about the role of the Audit Commission visit
  6. HMIC is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest and rigorously examines the effectiveness of police forces and authorities to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. For further information about HMIC, visit
  7. For more information, or for an embargoed copy of the full report, contact Eric Ludlow Communications Manager for Central and Eastern England at the Audit Commission on 0844 798 4183 or (e-mail address).