CHILD FRIENDLY: Senior Sgt Erin Hoffman and Councillor David Batt launch the children's books packs to be carried in police cars.
CHILD FRIENDLY: Senior Sgt Erin Hoffman and Councillor David Batt launch the children's books packs to be carried in police cars. Paul Donaldson BUN290916BOOK1

Kids' books in cop cars to help children

IN A first for Queensland, folders containing children's books have been added to Bundaberg police cars to provide a distraction for kids during difficult situations.

The joint indicative between the Bundaberg Family and Baby Network, Bundaberg Regional Council libraries and Bundaberg Police launched on Thursday.

Family and Baby Network's Angela Williams said the idea was first put into practice in Parramatta and as part of Bundaberg's 10 year plan to improve early childhood literacy, the project had been adopted under the Paint Bundy REad program.

"These book folders of boxes are going into the police vehicles for when they're out at incidences, to work with children that may be unsettled, unhappy or traumatised,” she said.

"It distracts children straight away and there's also a connection point, they've got something in common with the children to make an instant relationship.”

Councillor and Dad's Read ambassador David Batt said as a former police officer he saw the project's merit immediately.

"It has worked in Sydney in Parramatta, the Inspector down there is the one who thought of the idea,” he said.

"If you can sit down as a police officer, break the ice with a book and point to a few pictures and have a chat you'll be able to help them out a lot easier.

"Just to be sitting in a police car can be a traumatic experience if they're not used to that sort of thing.”

Cr Batt said making a child's first interaction with police a positive one encouraged a optimistic relationship between the community and police.

"Police try and get out there in many ways to break that barrier down, whether it's through the schools' police liaison officers or Adopt-a-Cop program,” he said.

Bundaberg police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Erwin Hoffmann said the whole program was tremendous.

"This is a great initiative because police often attend traumatic incidences where there are children involved and it could be anything from victims to offenders, they'll go to a house, they'll attend a traffic crash,” he said.

"This is great because police or other bystanders...can read to those children to try and lessen the stress or the trauma that they're facing.”



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