Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin paid a visit to Bedfordshire to learn more about the work of the Road Victims Trust (RVT).
The Minister met the charity’s chief executive Mark Turner and Katie Wellbelove, mother of 18-year-old Archie who died in his first week at Warwick University after being hit by a taxi in 2012.
He heard how RVT provided Mrs Wellbelove with specialist counselling. “The important thing was that I could tell them anything without having to tread on eggshells around the feelings of family and friends who sometimes said the wrong thing even though they were trying hard not to,” she said. “What’s more, I know I could come back at any time.”
He also learnt how RVT works with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police forces to be make contact with those affected by fatal road accidents, usually within 24-hours.
Speaking of his own experience of several road deaths causing “random devastation” to the families involved, he highlighted the work being done by his department to prevent road deaths, including that to prevent texting while driving.
He said: “I’m grateful to the Road Victims Trust for taking the time to talk me through their important work. It is an example of where police forces can work with each other and other organisations to improve policing and make our communities safer.”
Mr Turner said the Minister left with a “deep and meaningful understanding of the plight of road victims, and some of the inequalities faced by the many of the families, friends and colleagues affected by the death.”
He added: “People forget that those who lose a loved one through a road collision are often victims of crime.
“When someone is the victim of a robbery or assault that’s clear, and there are a range of services to help them. We support families, partners, colleagues and eye-witnesses for as long as it takes, which in the event of a court case may be for two years.”
The visit was arranged by Kathryn Holloway, the Conservative PCC candidate for Bedfordshire, who said: “My own son knew Archie Wellbelove well and attended his funeral, along with a thousand pupils and past pupils of Bedford schools.
“His death had a huge effect on families like ours throughout the town who knew this could so easily have happened to any one of us.
“The work of the Road Victims Trust is outstanding but is limited to just Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, currently with up to 400 people a year benefitting from its counselling services and support and I would like to do all I can to help promote this incredible work so that it might be available nationally.”