Knitters urged to create police comfort bears
CUMBRIA police is calling upon the help of knitters to create "bobby buddies" for children going through traumatic situations.
Officers are asking knitting enthusiasts to create teddy bears which will then be kept in police vehicles and used to help comfort children in difficult situations, such as a serious or fatal road traffic collision or any other incident in which a child would be in distress.
Inspector Laura Boyd, of Cumbria police, said: "These "bobby buddies" will be extremely helpful and a practical assistance for our officers as they seek to comfort children experiencing upsetting circumstances.
"Sadly, the nature of policing means our officers do attend incidents which are very traumatic for children — from a family argument to a road traffic collision or the search for a missing person.
"Our officers will be able to turn to these teddies to help build trust and a relationship with young children and to help take their minds off what is going on around them."
Other forces, such as Greater Manchester police and Devon police, have already launched similar projects and have seen positive results.
In Cumbria, the project will be trailed in the north of the county. If it proves successful and a high number of teddies are received, it could be rolled out across the county.
Cumbria police have already linked in with Cruc and Craft, of Penrith, who have supplied two dozen teddies and also Soroptimist International Carlisle, who have supplied a knitting pattern and also assisted with making bears.
An online knitting pattern is available to download at http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/elibrary/Content/Internet/535/4333595819.docx so people can follow the plan to create their own.
Inspector Boyd added: "It's my hope that people will see the benefit of our "bobby buddies" and look to create one of their own to donate.
"It is a small gesture but I can promise people that their work will have a genuinely positive impact on a young child who could be enduring a terrible experience through no fault of their own.
"I'd encourage anyone interested in putting a smile on the face of a young child to give it a go."
Cumbria police and crime commissioner, Peter McCall, said: "I think this is a great idea, a simple yet effective way to make a real difference and provide some comfort for a distressed child. I really hope the scheme takes off, and urge the knitters out there to get involved."
Completed teddy bears can be handed in at any police station in Cumbria, including Hunter Lane, Penrith.