How teddy bears are helping police make city safer

SUPER SEARCHER: Mayor of Durham John Wilkinson and Durham Constabulary's Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton present Cameron Brown, 11, with his prize, and John McKenna of Box Clothing, with the shop's award for best dressed bear.
SUPER SEARCHER: Mayor of Durham John Wilkinson and Durham Constabulary's Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton present Cameron Brown, 11, with his prize, and John McKenna of Box Clothing, with the shop's award for best dressed bear.
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A SCHOOLBOY turned bear hunter as he took on a task to seek out 90 of the toys across a city centre.

Police launched the search in Durham as part of the Safe City initiative, which aims to make Durham the safest in the country.

The bears were put on show in shop windows, with each given a blue, red, green or yellow sash to wear to represent a different message – say no to strangers, keep valuables out of sight, report antisocial behaviour or keep Durham tidy.

The challenge was launched just before the start of the summer holidays.

It ended at the start of the month, with competitors asked to fill out a list of where the bears were.

Clues were given via the @SafeCityBear account, with messages featuring pictures of the cuddly bears.

The overall winner of the bear hunt was 11-year-old Cameron Brown from Wingate, who has received a gift voucher worth £25 which he has opted to spend at WH Smith.

Runners-up were seven-year-olds Joshua Smith, from Sherburn, and Holly Richardson, from Wheatley Hill.

They each received a £10 shopping gift voucher.

Cameron was presented with his prize by Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton, Mayor of Durham Councillor John Wilkinson, and Durham’s city centre manager Carol Feenan.

Pc Kay Howarth, who ran the challenge, said: “Cameron made four separate trips to Durham with his mother until he found all 90 bears.

“The most difficult one to find was the Crushed Chilli Gallery, but he got there in the end.

“The bear hunt was not only about having fun in the city during the school holidays, it also helped get across valuable messages to the people who live, work and visit Durham City.

“As a neighbourhood policing team we have been able to use it to engage with the community in a unique way.”

Shops taking part dressed bears in outfits including Batman, a chilli pepper, a wedding bride and the Queen.

Twitter: @echoeastdurham