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Praise for supporting charity helping older and vulnerable people to feel safe after crime

Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston has praised the work of a charity that provides support and free security improvements to thousands of older and vulnerable victims of crime across Cambridgeshire every year.

The Bobby Scheme is a small local charity established in 2001 by the Cambridgeshire Police Shrievalty Trust – an organisation set up by the then High Sheriff and Chief Constable. Its aims are to protect older, vulnerable or disabled victims of crime from further victimisation, increase their safety and feelings of safety and maintain their independence.

Through the scheme, elderly or vulnerable victims are visited at home where a risk assessment and a home fire safety check are carried out. Relevant high quality security devices such as alarms, chimes, locks and outdoor lighting and security items are installed to the home and garden. The BS may also install a video doorbell to capture evidence that can be later used in court. 

During the visit, victims are offered scam prevention information, advice, and guidance on staying safe either at home, online or when out and about in the community. 

Being a trusted community partner, the BS can also signpost to other various agencies it works with to improve the health and wellbeing of the victim.

To date, the Bobby Scheme has supported more than 38,000 people – visiting 484 homes in the past 12 months alone. It has also spoken to thousands more victims and installed hundreds of security devices.

Darryl said: “The Bobby Scheme is one of very few projects of its kind across the UK providing elderly or vulnerable householders with valuable support and advice in the aftermath of crime.

“It can take months or even years to recover from crime, especially if a victim lives alone. Many endure sleepless nights and live in permanent fear of being targeted again.

“We cannot underestimate the value of providing reassurance to help these people live confidently and happily in their own homes again, which is why I am proud to continue funding the scheme. The team deserve the highest praise for the job they do, and I know that the many thousands of people who’ve benefitted from their support will share my gratitude for their efforts.”

The service offered to victims is free of charge and the benefits are invaluable.

The Bobby Scheme responds very quickly to referrals and from the feedback the organisation receives, beneficiaries feel much safer, confident, and reassured. Evidence shows their repeat victimisation rate is also less than one per cent.

The Scheme, which receives a percentage of its funding from the PCC, employs two full-time Security Advisors – both retired Cambridgeshire police officers with decades of experience tackling crime – two part-time coordinators, and a manager.

In a recent case, The Bobby Scheme provided support to the victims of a domestic aggravated burglary in which the male owner was threatened with a hammer in his own kitchen. The man’s wife, who witnessed the incident, was left incredibly shaken and traumatised, far more so than her husband. Security Advisor Jon Morris fitted window and door alarms to the whole ground floor and a video Ring doorbell. He also explained how to use the new technology, leaving the resident feeling reassured and much safer.

The Scheme has recently supported the roll out of the Home Offices Safer Streets 4 project across Cambridgeshire. SS4 is an initiative to support the residents of recognised high crime areas in Peterborough and Wisbech. The BS supported the project by canvasing the selected areas to encourage residents to take up the free offer of the security device. The project funded 150 Video Ring Doorbells as well as an annual subscription to access the recordings.

Perri Selwood, who manages the Cambridgeshire Police Shrievalty Trust, said: “On behalf of the BS, we are all very proud and extremely humbled to be able to support elderly people and the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“We receive many letters of thanks and receive many calls, listening to the comments from our beneficiaries and hearing the relief in their voices after we have improved their home security makes every day worthwhile and a pleasure to be part of this quite unique team.”