Plea to Fenland parents for unwanted toys for March Police Station's new child-friendly interview room
JOHN DEVINE / BBC RADIO CAMBRIDGESHIRE
For any child a police station can be scary and intimidating place, but officers in Cambridgeshire plan to change that with a new, fun interview room.
Spearheaded by Inspector Ian Lombardo, the station is renovating an old mechanics office into the brand new interview suite.
The room will be used by experienced officers as they interview parents and children about serious crimes like domestic abuse and sexual assaults.
Any child taken into police protection in the Fenland area over concerns for their welfare will also be interviewed at the unit.
Parents in the area are being asked to donate toys, books and puzzles to help distract the children who find themselves in the new interview room.
Inspector Lombardo said: “I want to ask the Fenland community for their help.
“Do you have any toys, puzzles or books that you no longer need and that you are willing to donate to help children who for whatever reason find themselves at March Police Station?
“The busy atmosphere of an operational police station can be uncomfortable for children, making the experience even more stressful for them and for their parents.
“In my 15 years of service I have seen far too many children taken into police protection who then have to spend time at the station while we wait for staff from partner agencies.
“These children are understandably nervous and scared and my officers find themselves with very little to comfort them.
“The new area is away from the busy station and has its own kitchen which includes cutlery and cups for children, there is a separate area that will contain a changing mat should parents with very young children require that facility along with a selection of toys and books.”
Donations of toys and other items can be left at Wisbech or March police stations.
He added: “Should we receive a larger than required amount of donations these will be shared across the county by the force Child Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit to help provide support and comfort to children across Cambridgeshire at other similar facilities.”