A POLICE team is dressing up its safety messages with a new look.
Peterlee Neighbourhood Policing Team has welcomed the bear as its new mascot, which has been named Bertie in a competition set for children at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Shotton Colliery.
The character has already been spotted in the town centre and at events held in nearby villages.
Police Community Support Officer Sarah Willis said: “This will help us break down barriers.
“It will help us offer crime prevention advice at drop-in sessions, when we’re out in a community and encourage people to pass on their concerns.
“Hopefully, he will also make people more willing to speak to police and will also be used when we’re publicising Neighbourhood Watch.
“It’s also to use as part of a brand and on Twitter and Facebook.
“It’s for the kids mainly, but it’s interesting to see people coming up to us to talk when we’re out in town.”
The bear was also seen in the community safety shop set up in the former Ethel Austin store in Peterlee in the run up to Christmas.