Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner seeks specialist media management agency

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Derbyshire, where the local force has been involved in several controversial incidents in recent months, is to hire a PR agency with public sector experience and skills in crisis management.

Image ©Pexels, via Pixabay
Image ©Pexels, via Pixabay
A recently released tender document - for a three-and-a-half-year contract starting in June, worth £200,000 - states that Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire's PCC, "is seeking professional support to manage and deliver media and communications".

This comes just weeks after Mr Dhindsa became embroiled in controversy over allegations that he swore at a councillor after a meeting.

Since being elected as the PCC for Derbyshire last year, he has seen the police force he oversees feature in a series of damaging stories reported in the national press. 

These have included the case of a woman who managed to track down her stolen iPad, only to be told that police officers were too busy to help and that she should go and get it herself. 

In another widely reported incident, firearms officers were criticised for tasering a man with the mind of a small child and shooting him with a plastic bullet after he was seen holding a toy pistol. 

And earlier this month police were accused of over-reacting after they raided a family home in response to a seven-year-old boy joking at school that he had seen a gun during a trip to Pakistan.

The tender document stresses the importance of previous experience in "the provision of effective communications within the policing landscape" and "expertise in handling communications for the wider public sector."

It adds: "The requirement is for a comprehensive 24/7 service to include public relations and crisis management, copywriting, website management, design, internal communications, newsletter creation, feature placement, strategic campaign management and development."

The incumbent PR agency, Better Times, a local firm based in Draycott In The Clay, Derbyshire, declined to comment when asked if it would bid for the new contract.

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