Last week the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust celebrated the milestone of its 10,000th client.

The Wiltshire Bobby Van Scheme was established in 1998 with one operator and one part time administrator. The team has now expanded to three operators and two administrators/liaison officers. The Bobby Van Scheme is a charitable trust, entirely dependent upon donations to meet its running costs.

The work carried out by the Bobby Van team is aimed at reducing the fear of crime, reducing the incidence of burglary and reducing the incidence of repeat victimisation among elderly, vulnerable and disadvantaged people. Clients may be victims of burglary, domestic violence or simply referred to the Bobby Scheme because they are considered vulnerable regardless of whether or not they are victims of crime. The services of the Bobby Van are offered free of charge.

Crime or the fear of crime can have a devastating affect on elderly, vulnerable or disadvantaged persons often leaving them feeling unsafe and unable to continue to live in their own homes. The 10,000th client, Mr John Parsons, from Salisbury, an elderly person with specific needs, was a recent victim of a dwelling burglary where cash and groceries were stolen from his home. A Bobby Van Operator visited his home and carried out work to improve security to doors and windows, offered crime reduction advice, completed a fire risk assessment, gave energy efficiency advice and offered support to the victim. This has given Mr Parsons the confidence to remain in his own home and continue to live independently.

All victims of Dwelling Burglary (including attempts) who are 60 yrs or over plus ALL victims of distraction burglary must be mandatorily referred to the Bobby Van Trust. This is achieved by asking control room operators to "tag" the relevant STORM log for the attention of Bobby.

Alternatively, clients considered vulnerable or disadvantaged and suitable for a visit by a Bobby Operator (regardless of whether victims of crime) can be referred to the Bobby Team by emailing or by telephoning the office on 01225 794652.

Domestic violence victims are referred to Bobby by divisional Domestic Violence Units (DVUís).