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Showing posts from December, 2021

Police and Crime Commissioner: How Much Shall I Charge You?

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The Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, Festus Akinbusoye, has released the police precept survey for the financial year 2022/23 and is asking Bedfordshire residents to share their views on changes to the budget. The precept is the amount residents pay through their council tax to help cover the cost of policing, community safety and victim services. >>>  Complete the police precept survey to have your say. To find out more about the survey, visit the Bedfordshire PCC website or email the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner at pcc@beds.police.uk .

Masked men burst into Dunstable home

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24 Dec 2021 - Police are appealing for witnesses following an aggravated burglary in Dunstable on Thursday (23 December). Four masked men forced their way into a home in Chiltern Road at about 7.30pm before threatening the occupant and making off with an iPhone and cash. One of the men was described as white, about 20, of medium build, 5’6’’ and was wearing a black jacket and dark jogging bottoms. Another was described as white, about 20, 5’7’’ and large. He was wearing a green hooded zip-up jumper and black jogging bottoms. T/DC Asim Warraich, investigating, said, “This was a terrifying ordeal for the victim and we are keen to speak to anyone who saw the group of men in the area at the time or has any information about this crime.” Anyone with any information should call police on 101 quoting 40/69020/21. You can also call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or submit information online via our website. *Adobe stock image.

Two Conservative Councillors Turn Independent at Central Bedfordshire

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Two Conservative Councillors have decided they can no longer 'tow the party line' at Central Bedfordshire Council.  Cllr Steven Watkins (Biggleswade North) and Cllr Nicola Harris (Stotfold, Langford, Fairfield & Astwick), have decided to continue serving their residents on the Council until the next elections as Independents. On Saturday, 18 December,  Cllr Steven Watkins  declared, “I’m very disappointed and upset to have left the Conservative group on Central Bedfordshire Council. “I’ve been a member of the Tory Party since I was sixteen and always supported them locally and nationally. “I’ve been increasing vocal in cabinet about the poor performance of some of my colleagues. My view was that I should be able to do this privately. If not then, when?  “I am a Biggleswade man through and through, but we have seen this council let us down with dodgy developer deals, allowing more housing than we can accept, a lack of progress on a health hub, with GP appointments a rari

Hadrian Academy primary school wins COP26 Creative Award

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Central Bedfordshire Council has crowned Hadrian Academy primary school in Dunstable with the Central Bedfordshire COP26 Creative Award following a competition on social media asking people to vote for their favourite climate challenge ideas from students.  Seven Central Bedfordshire schools were shortlisted. Their entries included: ·      Edward Peake: Help the World, Tree of promises and You can change the future ·      Etonbury Academy: Democratree 1, 2 and 3 ·      Hadrian Academy: Message in a bottle, Recipe for change and The Earth ·      Lark Rise Academy: Climate Change poem, Letter to the PM and The rabbit who didn’t understand ·      Northill CE Academy: Pollution sucker, Recycle Robo and Trampo ladder ·      St Augustines Academy – Coat of hope and Shine patch The winning school Hadrian Academy, included the entry receiving the most votes ‘ A message in a bottle – save our planet ’, which featured a story inside with the Earth being represented by a chocolate egg, the s

Free Security Etchings on Catalytic Converters As Part of Winter Vehicle Checking

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Bedfordshire Police has teamed up with National Tyres to offer motorists the opportunity to get a free security marking etched on their vehicle’s catalytic converter as part of its winter vehicle check service. Catalytic converters are targeted by thieves as they contain small amounts of precious metals, such as platinum, palladium and rhodium. National Tyres has centres based in Bedford, Dunstable and Luton and currently has around 1,000 etching kits so they can mark the catalytic converters for free on any vehicle that one and has been booked in for a winter check service. Whilst the catalytic converter is being etched, National Tyres staff will register the vehicle details with Smartwater, so if the catalytic converter is ever stolen and later recovered, police can match it to the vehicle it was taken from.  Lesley Johnson, Design Out Crime Officer at Bedfordshire Police, said, “We tend to get a spike of catalytic converter thefts in the winter months, and with the current cost

Our Fire Service Has Been Inspected and it's Good News

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Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Judged To Be Good At Keeping People Safe from Fires and Other Emergencies and Good At Looking After Its People Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service (BFRS) welcomes the publication this week of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report on their latest full inspection of the Service’s effectiveness, efficiency and how we look after our people. The report sets out how, following their inspection earlier this year, HMICFRS have judged BFRS to be ‘Good’ at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks and ‘Good’ at looking after its people. Although HMICFRS specifically note how the Service has improved efficiency since the last inspection in 2018, this area was judged as ‘Requires Improvement’. HMICFRS inspections of fire and rescue services assess performance across the three pillars of Effectiveness, Efficiency and People. Specifically, HMICFRS judged BFRS to be ‘ Good ’ at: Understanding

Garden makeover for popular church in Dunstable

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The Square Methodist Church is receiving a garden makeover as improvements to Dunstable town centre continue. The plans to refresh and landscape the gardens surrounding the church complement the wider works to transform Dunstable town centre. This includes the High Street project which is making this thoroughfare pedestrian friendly and more attractive with planting and landscaping. Enhancing the look and feel of the public areas is an important part of rejuvenation plans for Dunstable. During the High Street improvements Central Bedfordshire Council became aware of the church scheme and decided it could help. Using machinery from its scheme, the old gardens were cleared and there was support with the supply of materials and technical advice from the council’s work sponsor Henderson and Taylor. This helped the budget go further. The church scheme has been designed and managed by Dunstable Town Council in partnership with The Square Methodist Church. Additional funding has come from fou

Watch as Public Dashcam Footage Helps Convict Dangerous Drivers

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Dashcam videos submitted by the public, capturing anti-social driving on the roads of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, have been shared by the police to demonstrate how this footage can help bring offenders to justice. Since 1 January 2021, dashcam videos submitted to the tri-force Cameras, Tickets and Collisions (CTC) team have resulted in 882 Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) letters being sent to registered vehicle owners across the three counties. Of these, 216 were issued in Bedfordshire. The first dashcam video shows a motorist  travelling at speed along a layby  on the A421 near Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire. The motorist received three penalty points and a £100 fine on 23 April 2021 for driving a vehicle without reasonable consideration to others. The second clip captures a driver  narrowly missing an oncoming vehicle  when overtaking traffic on the B645 near Staughton, Cambridgeshire. The offender was fined £846 and disqualified from driving for 15 months for d

Christmas and New Year Bin Collections

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Local Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) will continue to stay open seven days a week, between 9am-5pm, except on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day when they’re closed. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve they will be open between 9am and 1pm. Real Christmas trees will also be collected for recycling between Monday 10 and Friday 21 January 2022 inclusive. Residents simply need to place their real Christmas tree next to their recycling bin (not in any bin or bag) on the relevant recycling bin collection day. Real Christmas Trees should be no taller than 6ft, with trunks no greater than 3-inches in diameter and all decorations need to be removed. During this period, no other garden waste or garden waste bins will be collected. For more information see CBC Website

The CBC Councillor who claims a special allowance for chairing committee meetings that don't take place

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By Alan D Winter, News Desk editor. Meet Central Bedfordshire Cllr Anthony Brown who is one of two elected Conservative councillors representing Shefford. In 2020/21 he claimed a Special Responsibility Allowance for chairing committees that never met.  Cllr Brown is currently listed as a member of these committees: Audit Committee (substitute), Licensing Committee, Licensing Sub-Committee. In 2019/20 he was chair of the Licensing Committee at CBC.  Available online records indicate that he chaired a meeting in September and another in December 2019. For all the meetings he chaired in 2019/20 he was entitled to and claimed Special Responsibility Allowances of £2,847.26 .  All councillors are entitled to claim a basic allowance, a travel allowance, and an ICT allowance*. One can surmise that the Special Responsibility Allowance is allocated to chairs on the basis that they may have to do extra research work and have additional meetings with certain officers of the Council.  Further

Police Action on Domestic Abuse — Three Sentences

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During 16 Days of Action, three men have been  jailed for domestic abuse  as Bedfordshire Police continue to clamp down on perpetrators of violence against women and girls. Mark Hannell, 27, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to three years at Luton Court on Friday (26 November) for threats to kill and breaching a non-molestation order. Hannell had dated his ex-partner for several months, but after the relationship broke down he became jealous. On 4 June, after ending the relationship, the victim received more than 50 missed calls on her phone and when they spoke he  threatened to kill  her. With a genuine fear for her life, the victim reported his behaviour to the police, and after making the report  the victim received a further 200 calls  believed to be Hannell. He  threatened  to bring  harm to her and her unborn child  and left the victim fearing for her life. The judge in the case, sentencing Hannell, said, “You could not accept that the relationship was over, you bombarded her

CBC Consultation: An End to 5 Year Tenancies and Introduction of Lifetime Tenancies? Have Your Say

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The Council's proposed strategy will see an end to the use of five-year fixed term tenancies and offer secure tenancies often referred to as 'lifetime' tenancies. The key proposal is to end the use of Fixed-Term Tenancies and to offer their general needs tenants a secure tenancy upon successful completion of an introductory period, often referred to as ‘lifetime’ Tenancy Agreement. These proposed changes are currently being consulted on, and you are invited to take part.  A spokesperson for Central Bedfordshire Council said, “The changes are a key part of improving our housing management services and, also as a response to the many changes in legislation and good practice affecting social housing that have taken place since the last review eight years ago. “We have listened to previous feedback from our tenants and housing partners and the draft strategy sets out the councils’ proposed changes to give social housing tenants more security, and to aid the Council’s Housin

CBC's Fairness Taskforce Will Ensure No-one is Left Behind

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Preventing people from being left behind or slipping into need in Central Bedfordshire, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19, was top of the agenda at today’s Executive committee (7 December), with the creation of a councillor task force to tackle fairness. The Fairness Taskforce, to be made up of all political parties, was given unanimous approval to be formed to oversee and support this work. Funding was also agreed upon for expert external support.  Cllr Steve Dixon, Executive Member for Sustainability and Transformation, explained, “We want to create opportunities for everyone in the area, making sure that no-one is left behind, and putting safeguards in place to avoid that. “Some of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic are startlingly clear, along with the fine line between managing and misfortune. This new task force will give a real impetus to the work that we were doing already, as well as new initiatives.” The Fairness Taskforce will begin identifying and recommending to

Boost Day Encouragement from MP Andrew Selous

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Andrew Selous MP marked ‘Boost Day’ last Thursday – the one year anniversary of the UK becoming the first country in the world to approve Pfizer’s COVID vaccine – by urging people in South West Bedfordshire to get their booster jab when they are called forward. As of Thursday 2 December 2021, more than 115 million vaccine doses had been administered across the UK, and over 18 million people – including 28,423 in South West Bedfordshire – had received a COVID-19 booster jab to protect themselves and their loved ones this winter. By getting their booster jab, people will strengthen the wall of defence against COVID-19 and allow everyone to enjoy Christmas safely with their families and loved ones this year. To mark ‘Boost Day’ last Thursday, Andrew Selous MP welcomed the news that 28,423 people in South West Bedfordshire had received their COVID booster or third jab, as the Government and NHS continues to step up efforts to ensure that vulnerable people are protected against COVID-19

Cat microchipping to become law

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Government to introduce compulsory cat microchipping to help reunite lost and stray pets 99% of people support compulsory microchipping for cats according to recent Government consultation Owners will be required to microchip their cats by the time they reach 20 weeks of age Cats can be chipped for as little as £2, but expect to pay between £12 and £17 at commercial vet premises Microchipping cats will help reunite thousands of lost or stray pets every year Lost or stray pet cats are more likely to be reunited with their owners and returned home safely under new pet microchipping rules announced by the Government today. Under the new plans, all keepers must ensure their pet is microchipped before they reach the age of 20 weeks and their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database. Owners of unchipped cats will have 21 days to have one implanted or may face a fine of up to £500 . The new microchipping rules follow a Government call for evidence and c

CBC on their way to supporting the planting of a million trees

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A Big Green Thank You: Central Bedfordshire Council Celebrates National Tree Week Central Bedfordshire Council is supporting National Tree Week, the UK’s largest annual tree celebration by thanking schools and community groups who have received tree grants this year. National Tree Week marks the start of the winter tree planting season, encouraging people to get people out planting trees around the country and reminding everyone how important trees are to our lives. To date, approaching £50,000 from the dedicated tree grant scheme has enabled 1,500 plus trees to be planted and, over 2.5km of new hedgerow laid.  Up to 12,000 trees are due to be planted this season. Tree planting grants  remain open, and applicants are encouraged to apply and plant trees and hedges to celebrate the Queen’s Green Canopy project. Projects can vary in size from at least 5 trees, up to larger areas of new woodland. £125,000 is available to enable tree and hedge planting. Successful projects have been bro

Walking Man Dies Following Collision With Vehicle on M1

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Appeal following fatal M1 collision Police Officers are appealing for witnesses after a fatal road traffic collision on the M1. Emergency services were called just before 7.30pm on Sunday (28 November) to reports of a pedestrian walking up the slip road of the northbound carriageway at Junction 11. The pedestrian was then involved in a collision with an HGV on the main carriageway. Emergency services attended the scene, but the pedestrian was pronounced dead shortly afterwards at the hospital. He has been named as Yuksel Ismail, 23, of Borough Road, Burton-on-Trent. Acting Detective Sergeant David Burstow, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire Serious Collisions Investigation Unit (SCIU), said: “This tragedy will have a profound impact on everyone involved and our thoughts remain with the family of the young man who has lost his life. “We are working to establish the circumstances that have led to this tragic incident and are appealing to anyone who was travelling on

DVLA / HGV Problems Highlighted in House of Commons by Andrew Selous, MP

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A question poised in the House of Commons by local MP, Andrew Selous has brought to light the problems being faced by HGV drivers. Mr Selous called for “an urgent debate on the need for an efficient service from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to get our heavy goods vehicle drivers back on the roads”. Andrew explained, “ My constituent, Mr Martin Hewitt, has had eight letters from his local hospital or his GP go missing at the DVLA. That has kept him off the road, it means that he cannot earn, and it puts further pressure on our supply chains.” It was left to Jacob Rees-MoggJacob, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons, to respond, “The situation facing Mr Hewitt is clearly a failure, and I am glad that my hon. Friend has raised it on the Floor of the House. “ I will send an extract from Hansard to DVLA, so that it is aware of this particular case once Hansard is published.  “However, there is good news from DVLA that the additional online services

Please Register Your off-road vehicle — requests MP

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South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous, encourages constituents to register their off-road vehicles South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous, has welcomed the news that off-road vehicles can be registered with the DVLA free of charge and with relative ease.  It is essential to get off-road vehicles registered, given that much of the anti-social behaviour arising from off-road motorcycle activity is carried out by individuals who have stolen such vehicles.  Criminals usually target these vehicles due to the lack of registration; as a result, when they are seized, it cannot be proven that they do not belong to the rider, nor can the vehicle be returned to its rightful owner.   Commenting, Andrew Selous MP said, ““It is deeply concerning to learn that most anti-social behaviour from off-road vehicles occurs from stolen vehicles. Therefore, I encourage my constituents in possession of an off-road vehicle to register them with the DVLA as soon as possible and motorcycle dealers acr

Please Sponsor a ZSL Animal This Christmas!

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In a new campaign to raise money to help look after its animals, especially during these COVID-times, ZSL is hoping to attract the public's support and think about sponsoring an animal as a present to give someone at this time of year. The campaign from London and Whipsnade Zoo says, “The perfect gift for animal lovers- adopt an animal today! “What better gift to give than something adorable that supports precious wildlife too? Help support our conservation efforts by adopting an animal from the zoo! It’s a gift that gives back. Each adoption receives a certificate, an information pack (including a notebook and bookmarks!) and quarterly email updates about your chosen animal! Plus the option to add tickets or soft toys.”   Your adoption will supports the animals in ZSL's care at London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo whilst also helping ZSL protect these animals in the wild.  Adoption gifts include adoption certificates with personalised names, an informative ZSL gift adoption tin pa