Hi, I’m Linda Fairbrother, the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and a new Trustee of the Cambridgeshire Police Shrievalty Trust that runs the Bobby Scheme.
Last week I spent a day accompanying Steve Price, the Bobby Scheme Security Advisor, on his visits. This is my story …
“I don’t know how much you can do for me”, said the charming older lady at the door of her house in West Cambridge. The answer was just about everything. Within ten minutes, Steve was shaving bits of wood off the back gate in order to put on a stronger padlock-able bolt, followed by a new chain on the door, and then electronic alarms for almost every window in the place. And that wasn’t all – there was a personal alarm for a handbag too. Mrs V was astonished, as was I. It wasn’t just a matter of the thoroughness of the operation, it was also the actual equipment. For instance, I had no idea you could have a chain on the front door which could be unlocked from outside – really important for older people who worry about perhaps falling or feeling ill, but then ‘chained in’ when help arrives. This way, at least someone – a neighbour or relative – can release the chain. Mrs V’s son-in-law was there to keep an eye on the visit; he was much impressed too, so much so that he immediately wrote down all the products, so that he could put them on the next-door property which he owned but was letting out. And he then gave a large donation to the Bobby Scheme, way beyond the recommended amount.
The other calls were equally satisfactory for the victims. The next, for instance, began with Steve and I being invited to sit down. The victim explained that he and his wife were literally a few hundred yards away, over the green, having dinner in the pub, while the burglars were having a good old go on laminated glass with cutters, pointed hammers and eventually it seems a sledgehammer of some sort. They had been horribly determined to get in. We were of course only on our chairs for two minutes, as immediately after the introductions, Steve was up and away, looking at entry points, windows, and front door. Out poured the advice and the equipment. The gentleman concerned told me that he’d thought we’d just be arriving to give him a security lecture, and then disappear. Not a bit of it. He too felt almost over-whelmed by what was on offer, especially as his wife is recovering from an operation and feels very vulnerable.
The final visits were quicker – the installation of a key safe for a lady about to leave hospital, and a re-visit to someone whose alarm on the replaced window had been incorrectly installed. All done and dusted by 5pm with four very happy customers and one not-at-all tired Steve, who remained with a bounce in his step and a cheerful word (many cheerful words!) throughout.