Police Scotland has officially launched "Trauma Teddies" in the Highlands & Islands with partners from the charity Safe, Strong and Free.

It follows the generous donation of more than 800 teddies, which have been hand knitted and crocheted across the region.

The little bears will be sent throughout the division and used to provide comfort to children who come into contact with police officers in traumatic circumstances.

The initiative has been organised in the Highlands & Islands in partnership with local children's charity Safe, Strong and Free.

It was launched yesterday (Friday, September 7) with a special teddy bear's picnic at Highlands & Islands Division HQ in Inverness attended by children who use the services of Safe, Strong and Free.

Inspector Judy Hill said: "We have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who has given their time to knitting Trauma Teddies.

"You can be assured that your efforts will be put to good use providing comfort to children who need it across the Highlands and Islands.

"Teddies will be kept at police stations and in vehicles and officers will now have the option of giving a child one in the hope that it can provide a little comfort in what would be a difficult or upsetting situation."

Kerry Glen, Project Co-ordinator with Safe, Strong and Free said: "We are delighted to launch Trauma Teddies with Police Scotland in Highlands and Islands. People have been incredibly generous; the amount of teddies we have received has far exceeded over and above our expectations.

"The teddies we have received have been fabulous and will help give comfort in upsetting situations. Our new book 'Safer Strangers' will be included in the Trauma Teddy pack to help ensure children understand that members of the blue light services are there to help and can be trusted. It is important for children to know about adults they can turn to if they find themselves in a difficult situation www.children1st.org.uk/parentline

In addition to the new ˜Safer Strangers" book; the teddies will also come with a postcard which provides contact details for Parentline, Children 1st's helpline and online family support service. This service provides access to additional support for children and families if they are worried about something that has happened to them or their child. Parentline offers a kind and skilled listening ear for parents, carers and relatives across Scotland.

Julie Kennedy, Service Manager Highland, Children 1st said: "Knitting a trauma teddy is a fantastic way for the local community to provide comfort and support to children experiencing distress. The teddies, show children that people care about what they are going through. Children 1st are delighted to support Police Scotland and Safe Strong and Free in the Trauma Teddies initiative.

"Whatever is affecting a family they can talk it over with Parentline – by phone 08000 28 22 33 , by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or online www.children1st.org.uk/parentline