As part of the police training, officers have to carry out a community placement. Tom joined the Bobby Scheme for three days. This is what he had to say:
The first part of my community engagement project was to attend a team meeting, whereby all 4 members of the team came together to discuss charity matters and concerns, such as upcoming fund raising events, security products and workloads for the upcoming month. They also discussed how the scheme could reach out and work with more agencies and if there are any other products that they could supply and fit. The manager of the Bedfordshire Bobby Scheme also attended the meeting, with both charities discussing the products they supplied and any initiatives that they undertake, so that they could identify gaps in their own charities work and how to improve their service.
During my three days with the Bobby Scheme I visited people in the community, all over the northern half of Cambridgeshire. All of the customers visited had a number of different reasons for using the services that the scheme provided. Several were elderly victims of burglaries or thefts. Others were high-risk victims of domestic violence that wanted some extra security for themselves or their young families. A number were referred to the scheme from Age UK,other agencies or families themselves, and just needed that extra security to feel less vulnerable. During each visit I was given an opportunity to speak to the people to find out what they had been victim of or what their major concerns were. This gave me an incite into the issues that the scheme addresses. I then assisted Jeff in installing a large number of security devices with the window alarms and door chimes being the most common. I also assisted in providing practical security advice and reassuring the customer.
From talking to victims that I visited over the course of the three days, it was clear that the crimes that they have been victims of have had a massive impact on their lives.
This was very evident in an elderly couple who had been burglary victims. An offender had gained entry by smashing the rear patio window with a plant pot, and stealing whatever valuables they could find. The victim told me that it wasn’t the loss of the property that had affected her, as insurance had replaced a lot of items, her issue was that she now could not relax in her own home, and was expecting the offender to return. Since the event they have got into the habit of securing doors and windows permanently. They have paid to have a number of security lights fitted all around their property. I learnt that the effect of the crime was not limited to the price of goods stolen, or the damage that had been caused to the property, but it had a longer lasting psychological effect.
The Bobby Scheme plays a big part in alleviating this impact on the victim. The simple products and advice that the scheme supply provide the reassurance that the victim needs, and allows them to have peace of mind, comfort and confidence to be in their own homes.
Some beneficiaries feel so satisfied with the service that they have been provided with, they often make a donation to contribute towards the cost of the visit despite the service being free for them to use.