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Policing decades marked with craft

By AAP Newswire

The diversity of talents involved in police work has been woven together in a series of quilts marking the federal agency's 40th anniversary.

The Australian Federal Police marks four decades in operation on Saturday with events including a public display at Parliament House and a gala ball.

But AFP museum curator Chris Cranston wanted to celebrate the milestone in a more tangible way that would involve police across the country and on overseas operations.

An award-winning quilter, Ms Cranston put the call out for AFP members or their family to contribute blocks that represented what the force meant to them, their career, or something they wanted to commemorate.

"There was a fabulous response, considering that quilting is not the normal activity within the organisation," she told AAP.

"One of the main things that came out for me (is) that people really wanted to show how proud they are of their work, they're proud of the organisation, the diversity of talents that it encompasses."

She has turned the 50 blocks contributed into four quilts.

Many use parts of police uniforms - shirts, pants, jackets, badges, medal ribbons and even reflective vests.

One person marked a posting to Thailand using her children's school uniform adorned with badges from her own police shirt and that of a Thai counterpart.

Another crocheted a patch with stripes representing her years in the force and the different departments she had worked in.

The mother and sister of officer Mark Scott, who was killed along with AFP colleague Brice Steele and three other Australians in the 2007 Garuda plane crash in Yogyakarta, sent in a block in his memory.

Another section was made by the wife of a police officer who lost hearing in one ear after an explosion while he was deployed overseas.

"She has done an embroidery of the Auslan sign for police and that's her way of showing that, for the whole family, that has an impact," Ms Cranston says.

Forensics workers were enthusiastic contributors, which Ms Cranston puts down to the more creative nature of their work lending itself to artistic representation.

The quilts will be displayed at the anniversary ball on Saturday then in the AFP headquarters in Canberra before travelling around to regional offices, giving members across the country the chance to see them.

Ms Cranston is also making a digital version of the blocks and the stories behind them to go online for those who can't see the quilts in person.