Plugging skills gap a top priority for new joint chairs of APComm

The heads of comms at Surrey Police and Thames Valley Police have taken up the role of joint chairs of the Association of Police Communicators, with a mission to plug the emerging skills gap among its members.

Claire Ingram (left) and Ruth Shulver are the new joint chairs of APComm
Claire Ingram (left) and Ruth Shulver are the new joint chairs of APComm

Ruth Shulver, head of comms at Surrey Police, and Claire Ingram, comms manager at Thames Valley Police, have taken up the joint chairmanship of APComm.

APComm represents hundreds of specialists in corporate comms, PR and media roles at more than 50 police force and law enforcement agencies across the UK.

The appointment follows the decision by Amanda Coleman, head of corporate comms at Greater Manchester Police, to step down from the role of chair in December after four years in the post.

Shulver and Ingram explained their priorities for the year ahead to PRWeek, including running a skills audit so that the training APComm offers matches current and emerging needs for police comms experts.

They will seek to boost engagement with members by explaining the benefits of being part of a national network and will run more events, in addition to the annual conference in November, including bringing less-senior comms professionals and subject specialists together.

The joint chairs also intend to develop a "knowledge hub" on the APComm website to enable members to share best practice.

Shulver said: "Being a police head of communications can sometimes be a stressful and lonely role, so we will again run a Head of Profession workshop to ensure we are supporting and developing those in this key role."

Ingram joined Thames Valley Police – the biggest non-metropolitan police force in England and Wales – in 2015. She has responsibility for all its comms, both internal and external, including awareness campaigns and employee engagement.

She began her career in PR for the fashion retail industry and later worked for PR agencies Clarion Communications and Launch before taking up a role as senior media officer for the British Heart Foundation.

Commenting on new role at APComm, Ingram said: "I am delighted to be taking on the role of APComm chair alongside Ruth, who is highly experienced and passionate about our profession. With police forces under significant pressure to review and reform, APComm’s purpose has never been more relevant and the opportunity for police communications never greater."

Shulver was a PR officer for Harrow Council before moving to the Metropolitan Police, where she spent eight years, first as head of its corporate press office and then as head of engagement.

She views the role of chair of APComm and its executive committee as an opportunity to support members to be the best version of their professional selves.

Shulver added: "I’m very honoured to take up the role of Chair alongside Claire Ingram, who I have known for some time and really respect, and I’m looking forward to an ambitious and exciting year ahead for police communications. The strength of APComm is that it has incredibly talented and highly professional members."

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