Police comms teams face recruitment 'crisis' due to government cuts

Police forces across the UK are facing an uphill struggle when it comes to recruiting comms people because of a public sector pay freeze that is putting police comms out of sync with the rest of the job market.

Amanda Coleman: Police face struggle to compete in the comms job market
Amanda Coleman: Police face struggle to compete in the comms job market

Amanda Coleman, head of corporate comms at Greater Manchester Police and chair of the Association of Police Communicators, told PRWeek that budget cuts were affecting not just her force, but also the Metropolitan and West Midlands forces.

"This is a national issue, not just a localised one," said Coleman. "Over the past 18 months the job market has improved – we have lost people to transport and health comms because we aren't able to compete with the other players.

"Police comms is a great job but carries high risk, so as a package isn't seen as attractive. Forces are trying to manage the budget and we are constantly having to demonstrate how our work supports the front line."

She added that forces around London had the additional challenge of higher living costs, which was turning people away from the profession.

Greater Manchester Police's press office, once 15-strong, is now half that size. 

According to the UK Statistics Authority, UK police forces face a £160m funding cut over the next two years.

In March 2015, a Freedom of Information request showed that UK police forces spent at least £36m a year (excluding staff costs) on PR, with more than a quarter of this budget enjoyed by the Met.

At the end of last year, PRWeek looked at how the Met was undergoing a change programme that was seeing it beef up its digital offering at the expense of some of its traditional roles, with job numbers reduced by a third, and budget by £10m.

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