[M]ORE than 120 ‘trauma teddies’ have been knitted to help comfort children involved in car crashes or other frightening incidents.
The “overwhelming” response to the community appeal has even seen them sent in from as far afield as Cyprus.
The campaign has been spearheaded by Stanley based Sergeant Dave Clarke, after the idea was suggested to him by someone who had spotted the bears being used in other parts of the country.
The boot-load of colourful knitted creations are now being distributed throughout Durham Constabulary.
“The response to the appeal has been absolutely overwhelming,” said Sgt Clarke. “The community has really got behind the initiative and the first teddies are now on their way to the Roads Policing Unit. In fact, I’ve had officers phone up asking if I can send them out because they love the idea so much.”
Predominantly used at the scenes of road traffic collisions, the teddies can also be handed out by officers attending other traumatic scenarios such as a fire when a family may have lost everything.
Sgt Clarke said: “They just add that little bit of comfort and every child can relate to a teddy. They are also really useful for officers to explain what is going on, so for example if you need to put an oxygen mask on a child you can do it to the teddy first and it instantly becomes a lot less frightening.
“There are also times when we might need a child to remain still while we are cutting them out of vehicles – the teddies give them something to focus on.”
Sgt Clarke has thanked all of those who have donated to the appeal since its launch at the end of May, particularly the publicity-shy lady who first suggested the idea.
However, more teddies are always needed and these can be dropped off at any Durham Constabulary police station or posted to the Stanley station – marked for the attention of Sgt Clarke.
Homemade teddies are preferred to shop-bought options and should be made from non-hazardous materials and should not feature small parts such as buttons.