So, you want my job? Head of media at the Metropolitan Police

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Ed Stearns' job as head of media at the Metropolitan Police?

Do say:
Do say:
Ed Stearns

Head of Media, Metropolitan Police

Starting salary/salary band for the job? 
Band A – A senior leadership role in the Met

What qualifications do you need? 
I don’t recall that a particular qualification was asked for. Common sense and ability to deal with events under pressure go a long way.

What level of experience do you need?
I had none in policing but had been a national newspaper journalist. Without a communications background it would be a bit like being a police officer without the power of arrest.

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?  
Public sector communications roles are so varied that some would help and some would hinder. We are quite different to a lot, but ability to navigate yourself around a big and complex organisation – we are London’s biggest employer – can help you avoid frustrations.

What are the main day-to-day challenges? 
Keeping across everything. In a typical day we are communicating to 3 million-plus people through our social channels and dealing with 200 questions from media and officers in our 24-hour press bureau. Our press operation will deal with more national stories in a day than many deal with in a year. You have to prioritise, manage risk and keep reminding yourself what really matters.

What is the best part of the job? 
Working with a great team. The unexpected is the expected and I have to have complete trust in my team to tackle problems head on. Seeing how comms is changing and the way we are adapting and responding is fascinating. So it is the people, and that means when I am recruiting – as I am now – I do want people here who are excited by the challenge and ultimately will be able to do my job.

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job? 
A Met Police Commissioner has only arrested someone once in the last 10 years. That was done in front of TV cameras and it was NOT a PR stunt!

If you get an interview, do say
I can produce arresting content.

If you get an interview, don’t say? 
Will I be able to arrest people?

If you’re good at this job you might also be well-suited to? 
Any communications job – this has everything.

Please note: Interviewees for 'So, you want my job' are not leaving their current role.

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