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Develop a bobby van scheme for Dorset

Bobby van schemes – mobile units that provide home security, crime prevention advice and reassurance for vulnerable members of the community – operate across the UK.

Van operators visit people’s homes and undertake a range of activities, such as fitting new door and window locks, installing security lighting, and educating homeowners in practical ways they can help to prevent crime. Schemes differ from county to county, but bobby van operators can also undertake fire safety work, provide advice about fraud and cybercrime, and signpost vulnerable people to other agencies.

There is compelling evidence, from other schemes, that bobby vans can help reduce repeat burglary and re-victimisation. The PCC and Chief Constable announced the introduction of a Dorset scheme when setting out the 2019/20 Force budget.

The OPCC began to scope a Dorset scheme in late 2018, working with neighbouring forces to understand the equipment, training and skills required for the van operators. The OPCC was also keen to establish an efficient process for identifying those members of the public who would most benefit from the bobby van’s services.

There are a number of different models in existence across other force, but the charitable model was determined to be most appropriate for Dorset. With this in mind, trustees of the Safer Dorset Foundation charity were asked to consider a proposal. The trustees agreed, and have commissioned Dorset Police to provide a bobby van scheme for the county.

A new trustee, former Dorset Chief Constable Jane Stitchbury, has been appointed as a trustee of the Safer Dorset Foundation, given her skills and expertise in related areas.

The OPCC’s scoping work is now complete and the project has been formally handed over to the Force for implementation. The OPCC Chief Executive is a trustee of the charity, and will continue to assist with the implementation and monitoring of the Dorset project alongside the other trustees.

The scheme was launched in January 2020.

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