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Since 1998, the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust (WBVT) has worked in partnership with  Wiltshire Police to provide a home security service for elderly and vulnerable people throughout Wiltshire. The charity funds the operation of three Bobby Vans that provide mobile workshops for Bobby Operators.

Operators are skilled carpenter/lock fitters, skills which are not part of police training and their vital work would not be possible without funding by the WBVT. The operators are also trained in crime reduction, Fire Risk Assessment, and are well versed in giving support to victims. The Bobby Vans are run by the Police Authority in a separate unit, and to provide reassurance to clients that a visit from the charity is genuine, van livery, uniforms and identification resemble that of the police.

Bobby Vans are directed to their tasks by coordinators working from an operations room, who receive referrals, decide on work priorities and despatch the vans using sophisticated communications equipment. On arrival the operators conduct a security audit and then fit necessary security equipment to ensure the home is safe; in addition they carry out a Fire Risk Assessment and fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when this is appropriate. Finally, all aspects of home, personal and fire safety are discussed and practical measures provided. The service and equipment is provided free of charge.

The mission of the WBVT is to help elderly or vulnerable people who have been victims of, or are considered to be at risk of, house crime, hate crime, domestic abuse or fire. The Trust was set up in 1998, the first of its kind to be established in England. It is overseen by a board of Trustees chaired by Robert Hiscox DL.

The charity works with Wiltshire Police and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, as well as a number of other agencies, to ensure that the most effective use is made of facilities available and those in need of help receive it promptly.

On 2nd May 2017, WBVT, again working in partnership with Wiltshire Police, launched a bespoke Online Safety Initiative – Stay Safe Online. The service is available to people who are over 60 or 18+ with a registered disability. Trained Stay Safe Online Volunteers provide: improved digital security awareness, scam prevention advice, support and reassurance; basic practical skills for checking and understanding digital privacy settings; and signpost people to future sources of advice and resources. The service offers one-to-one home visits and community group talks, and is managed by a dedicated Stay Safe Online Coordinator.

WBVT relies upon fund raising activities, sponsorship and donations to continue to provide this practical and vital community service.

Audited report and accounts can be obtained by calling our office.

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