In Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, we have a number of units that work together and specialise in different areas of policing to contribute towards creating a safer place for us all to live and work.
Our Armed Policing Unit aims to provide an immediate armed response to incidents where firearms have been, are being or are thought to be in use.
The collaborated unit, covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire is based in two areas;
The use of firearms requires an effective and professional response and all our operations, whether spontaneous or pre-planned, follow strict guidelines.
All firearms officers receive frequent training and gain qualifications in each weapon they’re authorised to carry. If an officer fails to meet national requirements, their authority to carry a firearm will be taken away.
The training teaches officers to specialise in the following roles;
rifle officers - this includes VIP protection, rural and urban protection work and intelligence
close protection officers - their aim is to keep a protected person safe and away from potential attacks
specialist firearms officers - their responsibilities include entering buildings, buses, coaches, trains and aircraft to rescue hostages
Luton airport - this is one of London’s major airports where officer’s conduct 24 hour patrols
surveillance firearms integration course - these officers work with surveillance teams during operations that may require armed resources, either as a tactical option or as back-up.
The unit also has the support of Armed Response Vehicles (ARV) that are available 24/7 to help officers respond to firearms incidents.
Our Dog Unit is a combination of trained police dogs and handlers from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. From searching for a missing person to tracking down a burglar, the team play a vital role in our fight against crime. With 30 handlers and more than 40 dogs, the unit provides 24/7 support across the three counties.
Each officer handles a dog that is trained to track offenders or missing people by following the trail left by them on the ground. They search for people and/or items in buildings or open areas, chase and catch offenders and protect officers in dangerous situations.
Some dogs are also specially trained to detect drugs, cash, firearms or explosives through their sense of smell;
proactive dogs - these dogs find drugs, guns and cash and are trained to search houses, planes, cars and lorries. We understand that drugs are as dangerous to dogs, as they are to people, so we train dogs to freeze when they find drugs so they don’t come into contact with them
explosives dogs - these dogs are trained to search and find explosives.
The unit provides the best of care for its dogs and at the end of a satisfying career when a dog completes its service, usually at about eight years of age, they can either stay with its handler or be re-homed with a carefully vetted owner.
Careers for canines
We recruit dogs from a number of different sources, but dogs donated by the public provide the majority of dogs which work in our unit.
Have you got a dog that may be a suitable recruit for our unit? We’re looking for dogs between one and two years, particularly German Shepherds, Springer Spaniels and Labradors.
If you have a dog that you think may make a good police dog, you can contact our Dog Unit on 101.
Our handlers will pay a visit to the dog in their home and if considered suitable, arrangements will be made for them to be taken on a short-term trial. The dog will be assessed free of charge, to see whether it has the right attributes and temperament to be considered for police dog training.
If considered unsuitable the dog will be returned to its owner or re-homed to an environment that suits them. If the dog looks to be a good prospect, the owner will be asked to sign the dog over to the Dog Unit. Upon successful completion of training, the dog will become part of the team, enjoying a long career with its handler.
All dogs are matched to a handler who works with the dog for the rest of its career. They live and work together to become an efficient team to track, search and chase criminals.
Our Firearms and Explosives Licensing Department supports the legal, safe and secure possession of firearms across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, with the aim to;
ensure relevant certificates are given only to those who meet the statutory criteria
carry out enquiries into certificate holders and registered firearms dealers if/when they come into contact with the police
take positive action against certificate holders who may present a danger to the public.
Our Road Policing Unit (RPU) consists of three police forces; Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. The three forces work together to make the roads safer in all three counties. Our officers are trained to deal with various situations including;
The unit is responsible for investigating fatal and serious injury collisions, reducing crime and increasing safety on our roads. The unit consists of the following specialist teams;
forensic collision investigation - responsible for investigating and reporting on all road fatalities or serious injuries
traffic management - responsible for liaising with agencies and local authorities about traffic management, safety schemes, road closures for major traffic events, roadworks and enforcing road restrictions
vehicle recovery - responsible for overseeing the police garage recovery scheme and liaising with recovery workers
vehicle examination - provide vehicle examination support and offer advice and support concerning collisions, vehicle safety, criminal activity, vehicle detective work, external agency assistance and vehicle types
RPU officers are out on the road 24/7 and deal with a range of situations from serious collisions to arresting suspects.
This requires all officers who drive the RPU vehicles to complete a high level of driver training which is regularly refreshed. Drivers are also trained in tactical pursuit and containment (TPAC) which encourages them to find an early resolution and safer alternative to pursuits, such as boxing in vehicles or using a stinger to deflate the tyres.
However, there are occasions where it is necessary to pursue vehicles. In these situations pursuits are well managed and risk assessed to ensure the safety of members of the public, those being pursued and the police officers themselves.
Our police vehicles aren’t modified for performance however we use vehicles which are specific to the role being carried out. For example, road policing vehicles are high performance cars which are equipped with necessary performance, handling and braking characteristics. The vehicles are also frequently serviced and are checked daily by officers.
Our Major Crime Unit brings together the expertise of detectives from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire to investigate the most serious crimes, such as murder and kidnap.
Thankfully, major crime is rare in our counties and very few members of the public will ever come into contact with our officers and staff from the unit. However, we understand that the impact of these crimes can be devastating for the family and friends of those involved. We provide support, guidance and reassurance to anybody affected and strive to bring those responsible to justice.
The unit is made up of two teams, led by Detective Chief Inspectors. One is based at our police headquarters in Huntingdon and the other at Hertfordshire’s headquarters in Welwyn Garden City. There is also a dedicated team to investigate cold cases, which are unsolved crime investigations that remain open, awaiting the discovery of new evidence.
Specialist officers within this unit are trained in a number of areas including family support, intelligence and investigative interviewing.
The Police Support Unit (PSU) includes officers who are specially trained to manage and tackle serious public order such as violent and peaceful protests. Officers are given two levels of training;
level one officers receive regular training and complete a four-day programme each year, providing specialist training in diverse protest removal, stadium crowd entry tactics, anti-terrorist training and advanced method of entry training
level two officers attend level one training, plus an additional four day course each year which provides a live-time exercise to test their competency.
Scientific Service (SSU) provide crime scene to court forensic services to police customers across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
Through the deployment of effective communication, scene interpretation and evidence retrieval our staff provide evidence and intelligence for investigative officers in support of crime detection and prevention across the three force area.
Many exhibits require further processing beyond the crime scene. Our enhancement laboratories, fingerprint bureau, forensic submissions and result unit and imaging teams all work in partnership with crime scene examination staff and investigators to ensure proportionate evidential opportunities are exploited in a timely fashion.
All SSU services meet ISO 9001 or UKAS 17025 standards. The Home Office Forensic Science Regulator has laid out a roadmap to accreditation and compliance with its code of conduct and practice for all providers of forensic science in England and Wales.
Our quality culture is at the heart of how we work, as such we proactively seek feedback from customers and partners in order that we can continuously improve and learn.
The Civil Contingencies Unit (CCU) are based at Halsey Road Police Station in Kempston covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
The CCU works with operational policing to develop contingency plans which help us respond to incidents. We have to have these plans in place because the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 makes it a legal requirement.
We work closely with our partners such as Ambulance, Fire & Rescue, Local Authorities and Volunteer Organisations. We work to give the best response to any type of incidents, which also includes planning, delivering and taking part in emergency planning exercises.
CCU staff often encourage best practise from organisers of events such as air shows, music festivals and sports events to keep the public safe and promote how they can respond to incidents, should they arise.