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The story began when five-year-old Eliza Adamson-Hopper wrote to Chief Constable Mike Barton asking why the force only used dogs and that it should consider having cats too.

On the back of her suggestion, Mr Barton replied and told her the force was looking to recruit its first cat. And it looked no further than Eliza’s own cat, Mittens.

The Force enlisted the help of a professional artist who transformed Mittens into a cartoon.

Now Mittens will be proudly adopted by Durham Constabulary’s Mini Police, a pioneering volunteer programme for 9-11-year-olds.

Eliza, mum Cheryl, and the real Mittens, came to Durham Constabulary’s HQ to meet some of the Mini Police from Ludworth Primary School who were there for the surprise unveiling.

Eliza said: “I love the cartoon of Mittens. I think it’s great that Mittens is now famous.”

Eliza’s mum Cheryl Adamson said: “I’m blown away with Durham Constabulary’s response.

“I would never have dreamed in a million years that when Eliza wrote to the Chief Constable this would be the end result.”

Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “We thought Eliza’s idea to have a police cat was a great idea.

“We wanted to recognise Eliza’s fantastic suggestion, so what better way than to transform her own cat into our mascot?”

PC Craig Johnson, who runs the Mini Police programme, said: “We feel very honoured to have Mittens as our mascot.”

On a visit to Durham Constabulary’s headquarters, Eliza, from Burnopfield, was made an honorary member of the Mini Police and was given a special print of Mittens.

The mascot will be used as an educational tool in schools across County Durham and Darlington.

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