Po­lice bear gifts for kids in ac­ci­dents

Glossop Advertiser - - News - He­len John­son

TRAF­FIC of­fi­cers are to start car­ry­ing ted­dies in their cars to give to young chil­dren they meet while re­spond­ing to road ac­ci­dents.

The ‘trauma ted­dies’ will be given to young­sters at the scene of col­li­sions to help keep them calm while they are given medi- cal at­ten­tion, as a com­fort after the in­ci­dent, or as a dis­trac­tion while po­lice deal with pa­per­work.

Chief In­spec­tor Tariq Butt, who heads up GMP’s roads polic­ing unit, said: “Road traf­fic col­li­sions can be a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence for any­one, es­pe­cially young chil­dren.

“We hope that the trauma ted­dies will start a con­nec­tion be­tween the po­lice and the child, and of­fer them com­fort dur­ing a dis­tress­ing time.”

Manch­ester com­pany S Ry­der Ltd has do­nated 100 ted­dies to GMP.

The traf­fic team will start us­ing them later this month.

In pre­vi­ous years, the force has given out ted­dies to chil­dren who have been hurt in col­li­sions, but now the ted­dies will be avail­able to all chil­dren who are in­volved in ac­ci­dents, whether they are phys­i­cally in­jured or not. Pc Matt Pic­ton says the ted­dies are a great way to calm young­sters down after what can be a very up­set­ting ex­pe­ri­ence.

He said: “When you go to a col­li­sion chil­dren are dis­tressed and the idea is to re­as­sure them by giv­ing them one of these ted­dies.

“It can have a dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect on them as they can get much more up­set than we can.

“From pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence it does work. It has a pos­i­tive ef­fect on them, it calms them down and it takes their mind off what they may have just wit­nessed.

“When you give them a teddy, it takes their at­ten­tion.

“It’s also a great ice­breaker as they some­times don’t want to speak to us – we can seem scary in our uni­forms.

“This gives them some­thing else to think about, as we’ll ob­vi­ously be busy do­ing first aid or cor­don­ing off the scene.”

Pc Pic­ton says that road traf­fic col­li­sions in­volv­ing chil­dren are sadly an all­too-reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence.

He added: “I’d like to never have to go to them, but un­for­tu­nately that’s never go­ing to hap­pen.”

●● Traf­fic of­fi­cers across Greater Manch­ester will start car­ry­ing ted­dies in their cars

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