POLICE are encouraging Shetland knitters to get their needles out to make teddies designed to comfort children who have witnessed a traumatic incident.
The project, which involves national charity Children 1st and Police Scotland, sees hand-knitted 'trauma teddies' given to children by police officers.
This may take place when a young person has seen a road accident or criminal offence, for example, or if they have become lost.
It is hoped that the teddies distract the children, as well as help officers to build a relationship with the youngster.
When a teddy has been given out, recipients are offered a follow-up call from Children 1st to check on their wellbeing.
Knitting patterns from the teddies can be downloaded online, or they can be found in Lerwick at Loose Ends, Anderson's and Jamieson's Knitwear. Completed teddies should be handed into the town's police station.
The police have issued four guidelines for making the teddies. They are:
- Donations must be hand-knitted and meet the pattern specifications provided.
- Teddies must not include buttons, zips or anything else which could be accidentally or forcibly removed.
- Seams must be securely fastened. Should access be gained to any fibrous filling material within the teddy through a seam, this may present a chocking risk if swallowed. Seams should be tension-tested to ensure they are as secure as possible.
- Prior to their distribution, pre-prepared labels will be attached to each donated teddy, advising of the need to take care of the item, given that this has been hand-made. Labels will be provided to Police Scotland by Children 1st, Scotland and attached with string to the teddy.