A cat has been adopted as the official mascot of a police force after a five-year-old girl wrote to the Chief Constable asking why they only used dogs.

Mittens the cat, who belongs to Eliza Adamson-Hopper, will now be used as part of Durham Constabulary's Mini Police initiative after her letter hit the headlines.

Five-year-old Eliza received a reply from chief constable Mike Barton, thanking her for the suggestion and saying he would pass the idea on to an inspector. He also included a drawing of his cat, Joey, on the back of his hand-written letter.

The Force went on to enlist the help of a professional artist who transformed Mittens into a cartoon, which will now become the face of their volunteering programme for nine-to-11-year-olds.

Eliza, from Burnopfield, County Durham, said: "I love the cartoon of Mittens. I think it's great that Mittens is now famous."

Her mother, 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."

In her letter, Eliza pointed out cats' skills which could help policing, such as listening out for danger and finding their way home if they are lost.

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?"

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