This month marks the 20th anniversary of Avon and Somerset Police’s ‘Be Home Safe’ service.
Formerly known as the ‘Bobby Van’ service, the first van was launched in 2000 in south Bristol and provided a free home security service for vulnerable victims of repeat burglary in the area.
In the following years, the service received additional funding from Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens and the Police Community Trust to set up a further five vans, which have since visited thousands of homes across the force area.
Today, the ‘Bobby Van’ service is known as the ‘Be Home Safe’ scheme and covers the whole of Avon and Somerset to provide timely intervention for vulnerable victims of crime.
Rich Reed, a ‘Be Home Safe’ carpenter, has been involved with the service since its inception and now oversees the scheme in Bristol.
Rich said: “I’m extremely proud that Avon and Somerset Police still offer this service for local people. I do not know where the last 20 years have gone; every day is different and I feel very lucky to be able to provide free home security when victims need it most.
“From a simple lock change or a full security upgrade, I’m told daily what a difference it makes to local people’s lives. Only last week, a family who had suffered domestic abuse were able to move back home because of the security I had installed and this means so much to me.”
“I have always been extremely supportive of this free service and am proud to have provided additional funding that has allowed the scheme to grow. The work of the carpenters such as Rich Reed is crucial in putting the victim back in control and ensuring they do not feel frightened in their own home.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “Without the commitment of those involved in the scheme who offer the necessary support to help people feel safe in their own home, I think there would be a lot of individuals struggling to overcome and recover from their experience. A massive thank you to those who support the scheme and here’s to another 20 years!”
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “We want the best outcomes for victims of crime, especially the most vulnerable people in our communities. We know how devastating the impact of dwelling burglaries can be for those victims and I’m proud of the enhanced level of support we are able to offer them. I’d like to extend my thanks to the dedicated individuals who go above and beyond to make this service possible.”