Durham Police could soon introduce a constabulary cat after taking on a five year-old's suggestion.
The force has confirmed they are considering incorporating cats into their fights against crime after youngster Eliza Adamson-Hopper wrote to the police urging them to consider the advantages cats could have alongside existing police dogs.
She received a reply from the Chief Constable Michael Barton of Durham Police, a self-confessed cat lover, praising her "good idea" and even drawing her a picture of his own cat Joey.
In the letter Eliza, of County Durham, Tyne and Wear, drew a picture of a policewoman, dog and cat, wrote: "I wondered why you don't use cats as well as dogs?"
Eliza's mum, social worker Cheryl Adamson, 33, said: "Eliza always has great ideas and questions, and I agree with her - cats should get jobs in the police force too.
"It was a bit of a shock to get a hand-written reply - but not surprising.
"She's just got loads of questions all the time. She's always asking questions and asked me why don't they have police cats.
"I told her to then write a letter to the police and the response is brilliant, especially the picture of Mr Barton's cat Joey.
"But everyone is tickled by her response - I was howling with all her questions.
"The officers are all very busy so it was great to get a response. I mean, they didn't have to."
The family own a horse, cat and dog, Tess, Mittens and Susie respectively, whose friendship inspired Eliza to pitch the idea.
Single mother-of-one Cheryl added: "Eliza is animal crazy and this inspirational act may lead for cats to get jobs within the force in the future.
"A lot of people nowadays send emails and text messages so to get a response in a letter for a little girl is so exciting - I'm so proud of her."
Mr Barton's handwritten reply read: "Thank you for your letter suggesting the police should use cats as well as police dogs.
"I am going to ask my inspector who is in charge of police dogs to think about your good idea.
"I've always liked cats and I've drawn my cat Joey on the back of the letter (I'm not a very good drawer though!)
"Thank you, Michael Barton."
Inspector Richie Allen, of the Dog Support Unit, then said the force is considering using cats onto the beat- although their designated role is still undecided.
He said: “I can confirm the force is looking into recruiting what we believe to be the first UK Police cat.
"Their duties and responsibilities have not yet been agreed, but if nothing else they will become the force mascot.
"Of course if it smells a rat we’ll expect it to catch it! ”