POLICE Scotland have been ridiculed for using a “creepy” toy elf, dolls, and a monkey in an “embarrassing” bid to promote safety at Christmas.
In a series of images posted on social media, the figures are used to portray perilous seasonal situations ranging from having a drink spiked to housebreaking.
One of the pictures shows “Bobby” the elf and a monkey in a bar with two Barbie-style dolls and the caption: “For the good of your elf, don’t leave drinks unattended on a night out. #KeepingXmasSafe”.
Another bizarre image shows Bobby holding hands with two blonde dolls, overlooked by the long eyelashes of a Russian figurine and two fairies. The public are urged to: “Do the right thing and stick with friends on a night out.”
The monkey figure features as a thief stealing a mobile in one of the images and Bobby the elf is posed against an open window as a housebreaker.
The campaign has been widely slated on social media with one critic asking why they had heard nothing back from police about the theft from a dementia sufferer reported three weeks ago.
The pictures have also prompted parodies, including one in which Bobby appears to be snorting a huge line of white powder, watched by a naked doll.
Karen McDonald and Gemma-Grace Johnstone both reacted to the images as “creepy”.
David Henderson asked “Who needs parody?” and a Twitter use, Bob Obvious, said the images were a “dictionary definition of embarrassed”.
Susan Adams wrote: “Really.. Trying to get police Scotland to get back to us on an incident involving a theft from my mum who had dementia.. Been waiting three weeks and when my nephew phoned today they hung up on him.”
Steven Reilly wrote: “Oh really – next time your house gets broken into or someone in your family gets attacked in broad daylight take a wee look at the elf and everything will be OK. The police already perform badly. The last thing I want is them slacking off, especially at Christmas.”
But some loved the idea, with Colette Robinson writing: “ Love that @policescotland are doing elf on the shelf ! Very nice way to give gentle reminders about staying safe during the festive season!”
And fan Gemma Burke wrote: “I’m not gonna lie. I look forward to seeing what Bobby has been up too everyday.”
The latest picture was posted on Twitter yesterday – just hours after problems at Police Scotland’s Bilston Glen call centre caused emergency calls to be diverted to other sites.
The Bobby elf toy looks similar to Elf on the Shelf, a children’s book character and doll used by parents to get their children to behave before Christmas.
It is meant to “watch over” the family home but some US based psychologists have expressed concern that it makes children paranoid.