Police forces see comms cuts bite, exclusive research for PRWeek shows

Only ten police authorities have grown PR budgets over the past year as widespread public sector cuts bite, exclusive research for PRWeek shows.

Police: three-quarters of forces have cut media funding
Police: three-quarters of forces have cut media funding

Freedom of Information requests were sent to police forces across England and Wales. Of the 38 forces that responded, nearly three- quarters had cut funding to their media services departments in the past year.

Overall comms spend in English and Welsh police stations has reduced by seven per cent, it is estimated.

However, ten forces did increased their PR budgets. At the top of the list is Hampshire, which saw budgets rise from £668,048 to £772,300 – up by 15.6 per cent.

Hampshire head of media and corporate comms Adrian Kingswell explained that the shift related to the comms department absorbing duties previously handled by other departments, including e-business, graphics and printing services.

'It's about streamlining processes and making the teams work more efficiently,' said Kingswell. 'The idea is that the closer the graphics team is to the corporate comms team, the more effective they are.'

Other growing departments include West Midlands, which has seen budgets grow by 11.7 per cent, from £1,286,680 to £1,437,600; and Cleveland, which has seen budgets grow by seven per cent, from £246,384 to £263,680.

The biggest cuts have hit South Yorkshire, whose budget shrank by 37.5 per cent, from £789,000 to £493,000; and Thames Valley, whose budget shrank by 25.9 per cent, from £1,643,000 to £1,218,020.

For the full research and analysis click here

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