Wakefield Police Besieged With Bears To Give To Youngsters In Need Of Support

Thursday 31 October 2019

Creative residents have engaged in an act of cuddly Castleford kindness by sending in scores of teddy bears for officers to give to children in distress. 

Castleford officers with a selection of bears

Neighbourhood Policing Officers in Pontefract are now taking part in a ‘Bobby Buddies’ scheme after the Castleford NPT has been besieged with bears sent in by knitting circles, coffee morning groups and wool shops for officers to give to youngsters. 

The Bobby Buddy scheme was launched in Dorset and encourages residents to send in or knit teddy bears in police uniforms which officers can give to youngsters going through traumatic situations as a way of engaging with them and providing some basic comfort.

The teddy bear concept was launched in Castleford in April 2019 and since then, officers have received hundreds of bears sent in by well-wishers which they have been distributing.

Children they have given the teddies too include young victims of domestic violence, youngsters who have missing relatives or have been bereaved or children taken into police protection.

Officers have also distributed the bears in Castleford schools in conjunction with the Talk to the Bear initiative through which youngsters are given bears if it is felt they would benefit from having one to talk to at home.

Police now plan to widen the scheme across Wakefield and have set up distribution points within Wakefield Police for officers to get stocks of the teddies.

South Elmsall PCSO's and Bear Buddies supporters

Inspector Mohammed Sohail of the Wakefield North East and Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team, which covers Castleford, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response to Bobby Buddies since adopting the initiative here and it’s no exaggeration to say we’ve been very surprised by the quantity of bears we’ve received.

“They’ve been handed out by officers in a variety of situations now and have left knitting patterns at a variety of community hubs. 

“The bears have brilliant at helping officers establish an early intervention with young children and making them realise that police officers are here to help them and are not scary figures to be frightened of.”

PCSO Hannah Scott, who helped implement Bobby Buddies project in Castleford, said: “We are really passionate about this initiative and really pleased to see it being introduced to the rest of district, helping more young children.

“The initiative helps us to promote early intervention from a young age and to encourage positive interaction with young people, assisting them at difficult times and realising that police officers are there to help them, are approachable and not to be scared of. 

“The influx of bears we’ve had from residents really shows the huge importance of community engagement in the work we do.”

Inspector Phillippa Child of the Wakefield East and South East NPT, said: This is a lovely idea which we are very keen to support in the Pontefract and South East area. 

“I’m sure many of us remember the comfort we received as children from a favourite teddy or cuddly toy and its really nice that thanks to the public’s goodwill, we can offer a toy to hopefully provide some small measure of extra reassurance to a very young child in need.

“We are speaking with our colleagues in Castleford about how we can take part in Bobby Buddies and want to build our own stocky of ‘furry friends’ for officers to have available.”

For more information about Bobby Buddies contact the Castleford NPT on [email protected]

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