PCC holds firm despite pressure after ‘no’ vote

Olly Martins
Olly Martins
  • PCC Olly Martins has refused to stand down despite a crushing ‘no’ vote in the police referendum
  • 42,682 voting ‘yes’ were vastly outnumbered by the 91,716 who voted ‘no’ in Central Bedfordshire
  • The result will see a reduction of up to 135 police officers across Bedfordshire

Police and crime commissioner Olly Martins has rejected calls for his resignation, as voters overwhelmingly voted ‘no’ on a council tax hike.

On Thursday last week voters across the Chronicle Country were asked if they supported a 15.8 percent police precept increase, amounting to 48p extra a week for band D homeowners.

The plan was roundly dismissed at the polls, as 207,551 of 301,799 votes cast (68.7 percent) were against the hike.

Across Central Bedfordshire the 42,682 voting ‘yes’ were vastly outnumbered by the 91,716 who voted ‘no’.

Similarly Luton and Bedford were adamantly against the rise which meant the total number of people across Bedfordshire voting ‘no’ amounted to 207,551 compared to just 91,086 who voted ‘yes’.

With the referendum costing the force £600,000 – which includes the cost of refunding taxpayers – calls have been made for Mr Martins to resign.

However the PCC told the Biggleswade Chronicle that he intends to remain in place.

He said: “While this is a very disappointing result it would be self indulgent and irresponsible for me to walk away.

“A by-election would cost over a million pounds to hold and given that the issue is a lack of finances I don’t think that would be a very sensible use of public money.

“(The cost) was £600,000 but it was in an endeavour to fill a £6 million looming financial shortfall.”

Mr Martins said that the decision will result in a recruitment freeze in the next 18 to 24 months and a reduction of up to 135 police officers.

He added: “Bedfordshire Police faces serious urban challenges but is funded as though it is a small rural force.

“As a result it has the worst financial position of any police force in the UK.”

The referendum was orchestrated by Mr Martins to raise an extra £4.5m a year for the force.

Mr Martins planned to use the warchest to pay for 100 new officers across the county.

The PCC and chief constable Colette Paul now intend to meet with Home Secretary Theresa May to make a case for extra funds.