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Celebrating 15 years of Bristol's Bobby Van


Richard Read and his Bobby Van have been helping vulnerable people to stay safe in their homes for 15 years.

During that time, many thousands of homes across Bristol have had their security improved, reducing the chances of vulnerable people being burgled.

The scheme, which is also known as Safer Homes, was launched in Bristol in October 2000 after figures showed that vulnerable people were being targeted and repeatedly burgled. It was later rolled out across the rest of the force.

Crime Prevention Locksmith and Carpenter Richard Read said: "When the scheme was launched 15 years ago, I remember the then District Commander of South Bristol, Chief Superintendent Steve Livings, handing me the keys to the van and saying ‘this new scheme to reduce repeat burglary is very exciting. I know it will work, so don’t let me down.’

"I think it is fair to say that the scheme works. In the past 15 years, I can count on one hand the number of people who have been targeted again after we’ve been to their home to improve their security. If the Bobby Van pays you a visit, you are far less likely to become a victim of crime."

Richard and his colleague Billy Oliver are professional locksmiths and carpenters. As well as visiting the homes of people who have already been burgled, they also visit those who have been flagged as being potentially vulnerable, either as victims of burglary, domestic abuse or anti-social behaviour.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "The work of the Bobby Van carpenters is crucial in putting the victim back in control, as no one should feel frightened in their own home.  I’ve had the privilege of going out with the Bobby Van on several occasions and have witnessed first-hand the difference their services make to victims.

"Without the commitment of carpenters like Richard, who offer the necessary support to help people feel safe in their own home, I think there would be a lot of people struggling to overcome and recover from their experience."

Posted on Monday 19th October 2015
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