Our operators carry out around 1,350 tasks each year and deal with a diverse range of situations, including: comforting victims of distraction theft and burglary, assisting those subjected to domestic violence by partners or family, fitting key safes to give carers quicker access to homes of disabled people, installing door chains and viewers, where possible, to help empower the elderly against unwelcome callers, and undertaking lock changes where necessary.
Burglaries (break-ins or distractions) in Wiltshire and Swindon, involving people over the age of 60, are referred to the Trust by Wiltshire Police, whose officers are trained to recognise situations in which the Trust could help.
There is no charge for the service or equipment provided by the Trust, except for external key safes which are charged at £70 (inclusive of fitting).
The Trust works with Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service to improve fire safety awareness. When a Bobby Van operator visits a property he will undertake a full fire risk assessment and discuss fire safety with the occupants as well as fitting smoke detectors where appropriate.
This now accounts for around a quarter of our call outs, and, in most cases, the operators are able to upgrade the security of a property to prevent access by sometimes violent and aggressive ex-partners. In extreme cases, with the cooperation and funding of local authorities operating the Sanctuary Project, a ‘safe room’ can be installed, which, during an incident, a family can remain safe in until the police arrive.