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HMI Zoe Billingham will no longer inspect Bedfordshire Police

The force's leaders have openly criticised HMICFRS for "unfair" inspections.

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway

Date - 12th December 2017
By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle
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Bedfordshire Police’s HMI has been replaced after complaints about the way the force was inspected were referred to legal counsel.

Last month Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway revealed a formal complaint had been made against HMICFRS “to question a lack of impartiality, balance and fairness [in not] properly recognising the context in which my force operates.”

Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher has also spoken out in anger about “unfairness” in the way the force is inspected and told Police Oracle in November he had challenged HMICFRS’ assessment of the Bedfordshire Police’s efficiency.

Ms Holloway told a meeting of Befordshire Police and Crime panel last week that she was “hoping for a sea change” as former rear admiral Matt Parr has temporarily stepped in.

She said: “The chief constable has also made a complaint, we now have the complaint being investigated.

“I can’t say anymore right now because these are matters of legal privilege but I fully intend to set all of the circumstances before you as a panel when I’m able to do so.

“We have a new HMI as a result, and at least in the interim while the independent investigation takes place HMI Billingham will no longer inspect Bedfordshire police.

“I have met with the HMI Matt Parr, as has the chief constable- [it was a ]very, very positive and constructive initial meeting.

“He is a former rear admiral so I’m hoping for a sea change.”

The force was previously inspected by HM Inspector for the Easter Region Zoe Billingham.

An HMICFRS spokeswoman said: “Following representations made by the police and crime commissioner and chief constable of Bedfordshire, at HMI Zoë Billingham’s request, inspection responsibility for Bedfordshire Police has been temporarily assigned to HMI Matt Parr.

“HM Chief inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor has appointed external legal counsel to assess the representations and report back to him.”

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