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Showing posts from October, 2020

Scrutiny Panel Give Green Light to Bedfordshire Police Over Detention Videos

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An independent panel set up to scrutinise the Bedfordshire Police use of force has given officers the green light in its latest series of reviews. Bedfordshire's independent use of force scrutiny panel reviewed four videos which the panel randomly selected of officers using force to detain suspects. The independent panel rated each of the four videos ‘green’ at Thursday’s meeting, the highest available mark on the ‘traffic light’ system used to grade the footage. This was the second-ever meeting of the panel, which was launched earlier this year. It is a sub-group of the county’s successful Stop and Search scrutiny panel. Chief Inspector Hob Hoque, our lead for use of force, said,“Being open and transparent about how our officers use their powers is vitally important for our communities to have trust in us as an organisation. “It is of course great news that the panel was happy with how our officers used force on these occasions. We have still identified some great feedback from

Elderly Dunstable Woman Caught Out By Distraction Robbery

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Bedfordshire Police is issuing a warning to residents about distraction burglary, after receiving a further report of an incident targeting a vulnerable victim’s home. Photo: Google Streetview On Saturday 24 October, at around 12.30pm, a man claiming to be from the local authority gained entry to the home of a woman in her 90s in Union Street, Dunstable, telling her he needed to check her water pressure due to possible flooding in homes in the street. The woman let him into her kitchen where he ran the taps and kept her talking for a few minutes. He then said the water pressure was better, and left the property. After he was gone, the victim noticed that her bedroom had been searched and cash had been stolen from her handbag. It is believed that a second person may have entered the address, whilst the victim was kept talking in the kitchen. The offender is described as a white man, aged between 40-50 years, 6-foot-tall and of large build. He was wearing a face covering, but the vict

Council and Police Helping Communities to Stay Covid Safe

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Council and Police are helping communities to stay Covid safe and compliant with regulations. Central Bedfordshire Council has been working with local businesses to ensure they are aware of the measures they need to take to ensure the safety of their customers.  With COVID-19 infections on the rise, it’s now more important than even that businesses are COVID-19 secure, so Council officers will be out and about in high streets and town centres across Central Bedfordshire with the Police this weekend to engage and advise on safety measures. And any businesses seriously breaking the rules or, having already been advised continue to break the rules they will be fined.  Central Bedfordshire Council’s public protection team have been responding to complaints and information about businesses who are not complying. However, now there is a real need for everyone to stick to the rules to protect themselves and others.  The Council are using the  £112,886  of Government funding to ensure COVID

Predator Jailed After Sexual Attack on Dunstable Woman

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A man already serving 12 years for rape was jailed for a further two years last week and branded a “sexual predator” after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in Dunstable. Ryan Ricketts, 28, of Outmore Road, Birmingham, initially denied the charges but changed his plea on Monday 19 October, on the first day of what was set to be a five-day trial at Luton Crown Court. On 30 December 2017, Ricketts travelled to Dunstable for a night out with friends. The group returned home and Ricketts was given a place to stay on the sofa. When the victim was asleep upstairs Ricketts entered the bedroom and sexually assaulted her, preying on her intoxicated state. The victim managed to eventually fight him off and alert others in the house. But Rickett’s denied his actions. After a three-year investigation by Bedfordshire police force, which also found Ricketts was on bail for rape at the time of this attack, he was charged with two counts of sexual assault by penetration, two counts of

Dunstable Man Jailed for Firearms and Drugs Offences

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A man from Dunstable has been jailed for more than six years at Luton Crown Court on Friday (23 October), for possession of firearms, ammunition and drug offences. Anthony Dennison, 38, of Northfields in Dunstable, pleaded guilty to multiple firearms offences at a hearing in September. On 31 July, police carried out a warrant at Dennison’s address on suspicion it was being used for drug dealing. During the search, officers discovered multiple guns, knives, tasers, and even a samurai sword and nun-chucks. Further search uncovered cannabis cultivation in the loft space and a large amount of cannabis. Dennison pleaded guilty to eight charges relating to possession of weapons and two counts of drug offences. He was sentenced to six years and eight months imprisonment. PC Sophie Singleton-Sells, who investigated, said, “The sheer number of weapons found at his home was uncanny, and we are satisfied with the court result and the length of the prison sentence imposed on Dennison. “Initiall

Lost Path Restored At Kensworth

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Report by North Chilterns Path Maintenance Volunteers On what turned out to be a very wet work party our hardy PMVs, guided by Robin Richardson from Central Bedfordshire Council, set out to carry out two tasks:- recreate a lost path KN 6 at Kensworth and the installation of the last two waymarker posts on path ST 13 up at Holywell / Studham. The work to path KN 6 comprised vegetation clearance, removal of small trees and removal of overhanging branches.  The PMVs working in two teams led by Sylvia and Jonathan R tackled the path from either end and made relatively light work of the task involved no doubt spurred on by the persistent wet weather.  Using a combination of hand and mechanical tools:- loppers, saws, brush cutter, combi cutter, and mower the path was recreated 1m from the fenceline and 1.5m wide. The waymarker posts team led by John had the pleasure of yomping some many metres across a very sodden field to install the posts in what turned out to be easy going in soft soil

Support for Vulnerable Children & Families this Half Term

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Support for Vulnerable Children and Families this Half Term Central Bedfordshire Council has received £217,555 from the Government as a welfare assistance grant to help all those struggling to afford food and other essential items. This payment is in addition to the extra £20 a week everyone on universal credit has been given during the pandemic. South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous said “With this additional grant to the council no child need go hungry this half term. We also have some amazing community provision in addition to the money from this grant. If any family has difficulty in feeding their children this week or in the future I would like them to contact me immediately and I will do a full review of their finances, benefits and situation to see how they can be helped. If you know any family struggling to afford food this week, please ask them to contact me. " The Central Bedfordshire Council food voucher scheme will continue to be available to families in need ove

COVID-19 : An Extra £2.56m for CBC For Vital Services

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Central Bedfordshire Council is to benefit from extra £2.56m in funding announced by the Government making an extra £24.25m funding since the pandemic began.  The Government has announced an additional £900m for local councils , out of which  £2.56m will go to Central Bedfordshire Council. Andrew Selous MP is among those welcoming this news.  South West Bedfordshire also stands to benefit from a further £100 million which will be used to establish a new fund to support council leisure centres that are most in need, in recognition of the ongoing challenges many local authority leisure centres are facing. Local leaders will be able to determine how to spend the additional funding in order to best protect public health, local vulnerable people and the running of vital services. Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said, “Since the start of the pandemic, we have backed local councils with the funding they need to support their communities, protect vital services and rec

CBC Prosecutes Local Shops Over Drink Sales To Children

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Shop owners were hit by hundreds of pounds in fines and court costs after Central Bedfordshire Council sent under-age volunteers to buy alcohol – one as young as 13. Dunstable In  Dunstable ,  KDK Discount Food and Wine , High Street North, was visited by underage volunteer buyers in September 2019. The two 16-year-olds were sold by the shop’s owner, Subramaniam Satkunaruban, a bottle of Archers Schnapps Aqua Raspberry. No ID was asked for, the volunteers weren’t asked their age or any questions at all.  Following the sale, a trading standards officer went into the shop to discuss the matter with the seller.  No ‘Challenge 25’ display material was present, and no refusals book was available.  In court Satkunaruban and licensee Shanthini Sivathasan, both pleaded guilty to one offence of selling alcohol to persons under the age of 18.  Satkunaruban  was fined £300, ordered to pay a £32 victim surcharge and ordered to pay a £500 contribution towards costs,  a total cost to him of £832

100th Cannabis Factory Intercepted By Bedfordshire Police

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Bedfordshire Police Force has dismantled a large scale cannabis factory – the 100th  discovered by Bedfordshire police since the start of the coronavirus lockdown. The factory was discovered in a commercial building located in an industrial estate near Shefford. The number of cannabis factories discovered by the force this year is up by more than 50 per cent compared to the same period last year. Officers executed a warrant at the address yesterday (Monday). Seven separate units were found to be modified to accommodate large scale cannabis cultivation.  The building was insulated and fitted with extraction systems to avoid detection from things like heat detection technology. Weapons including a starter pistol were discovered by police at the address, while there were also signs that people had been living and working at the farm. Cannabis is, by weight, the most seized drug in Bedfordshire. Research led by Bedfordshire Police last year suggests that around £59 million is spent on c

Suspension of Garden Waste Collections

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A break for all garden waste collections for the winter in Central Bedfordshire Once again there will be a winter break for all kerbside collections of household garden waste across Central Bedfordshire. The collections will be suspended from Monday, 7 December 2020 until Friday, 26 February 2021 inclusive. Residents are encouraged to check their last collection date for their area, which will be either the week commencing Monday, 23 November or Monday, 30 November. The collections will resume again on Monday, 1 March 2021. All other waste collections will operate as normal during this period.  Throughout these months, only very low volumes of garden waste are collected, and it is therefore not cost effective to provide the service during these months. During the break in service, garden waste can still be recycled at the council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres. These are open seven days a week from 9am - 5pm, including bank holidays.  Certain restrictions due to Covid-19 may be

Dunstable Health and Care Hub & Housing Development Plans Approved

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New plans to deliver joined-up health and care services in one location in Dunstable were given the green light at Central Bedfordshire Council's (CBC) Development Management Committee on 14 October. Subject to ‘call-in’, the decision means that a new health and care hub could be offering local residents health, care and voluntary services all under one roof from 2023, with construction starting this winter. The application also included 98 apartments for over 55s, distributed in three blocks with access, parking, landscaping and associated infrastructure. Designed to meet the need for older people’s housing in the area, the apartments are intended for older people, who want to live independently but are finding it difficult to manage in the home they are living in – maybe because of mobility issues, health needs or just the upkeep of a bigger house.  CBC are working alongside Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) to deliver the project. BCCG is an NHS organisation re

Novel Conversion of a Water Tower Into A Home - Isle of Wight Road

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A former water tower off Isle of Wight Lane, close to Kensworth Quarry on the Downs above Dunstable, could be turned into a home. A novel planning application has been submitted to Central Bedfordshire Council for the conversion of the water tower into a three bedroomed home. The plans show a ground floor for parking, followed by four further levels of living space plus the roof level. The decommissioned water tower has been abandoned for many years and was put up for sale in 2017. Currently, both the concrete legs and the water containment tank upon them are deteriorating. The concrete is spalling due to the reinforcing bars emerging as they rust away. Electrical control boxes at the base have been stripped and graffiti and litter are evident within the security fencing.  It is argued in the Design and Access statement, that, “The proposal will replace a dilapidated and a crumbling `Brownfield` industrial building, unsuited to other business usage with a high-quality design, creat

£61.7m Bounce Back Loans Welcomed by Local MP

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Andrew Selous MP welcomes latest figures showing support for businesses in South West Bedfordshire 2,109 Bounce Back Loans worth £61,698,326 have been offered under the Bounce Back Loans Scheme in South West Bedfordshire Also in South West Bedfordshire, 88 loans worth £21,171,666 have been offered under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme In total, more than £200 billion of Government support has been provided to help individuals and businesses in all parts of the UK New statistics showing the huge Government support to businesses in South West Bedfordshire have been welcomed by local MP Andrew Selous. Businesses across South West Bedfordshire have benefitted from £82,869,992 worth of loans since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. This includes 2,109 Bounce Back Loans – 100 per cent government-backed loans which are interest-free for the first 12 months – worth £61,698,326. The scheme ensures that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get fi

What Do Think About Countryside Sites Operated by CBC?

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Central Bedfordshire Council is undertaking an online survey about their countryside sites and is asking residents and users for their views. This is your chance to have your say on countryside sites across Central Bedfordshire. The council wants to provide countryside sites that are great places for the local community to enjoy, exercise, relax, and play, so they are asking the public to feedback what they think about the sites. The survey covers topics around cleanliness and maintenance of this site, wildlife and conservation projects and the range of visitor facilities and/or events that are available. The council is asking anyone that has visited one of their sites to complete the survey and to tell them their thoughts about how it could be improved. The survey will take no longer than five minutes to complete and your feedback will help the council manage the sites to meet the needs of the community.  Councillor Ian Dalgarno, the Executive Member for Community Services for Cen

Green Flag Accreditation for Local Parks - Including Houghton Hall Park

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Houghton Hall Park is one of several parks in the area to get a Green Flag Award in 2020. The UK’s National Green Flag Awards 2020 was delayed this year due to Covid-19 and while staff and volunteers dealt with challenges that went along with huge numbers of additional visitors.  Amongst these, Central Bedfordshire has secured its first-ever full  Green Flag Award for  Rushmere Country Park . The award winning parks can be found on this  interactive Green Flag Map Close to Houghton Regis, Green Flag Award winning open spaces include:  Studham Common  - Green Flag Award Winner Houghton Hall Park  - Green Flag Award Winner Grove House Gardens  - Green Flag Award Winner Priory Gardens  - Green Flag Award Winner Dunstable Cemetery  - Green Flag Award Winner The Green Flag Award scheme , managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government,  recognises  and  rewards well-managed parks and green spaces , setting th