Metropolitan Police head of media Ed Stearns to leave the force in the summer

Ed Stearns, head of media at the Metropolitan Police, is to leave the service after 10 years for a job at the London Legacy Development Corporation and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Ed Stearns is leaving his Met job after 10 years to join the LLDC in June
Ed Stearns is leaving his Met job after 10 years to join the LLDC in June

He will take up the role of director of comms for the LLDC in June, when he will replace Ben Fletcher, who is leaving to become director of external affairs for the manufacturers' organisation EEF.

Commenting on his new role, Stearns said the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and 2012 legacy was the most exciting regeneration project in the UK, as it moved toward developing a cultural and education district to "rival anything in Europe in scale and ambition".

He added: "I am looking forward to joining a fantastic team responsible for unique projects which continue to make a difference to the lives of people in east London and beyond."

Stearns was night news editor at the Daily Mail for seven years until 2006, before taking up a job as a senior media consultant with Mason Media and then moving to the Met in June 2008.

While at the Met, Stearns worked with former director of comms, Martin Fewell, to develop and modernise the force’s media handling, as well as its digital and social-media presence.

Commenting on the team’s approach in an interview last September, Stearns told PRWeek: "It’s about our comms having the cut-through and authority to reach Londoners. Traditional media is still hugely important and has a lot of influence, but social media is very effective, too."

The team went on to win the PRCA’s In-house Team of the Year Award in November for its handling of the comms around the Westminster Bridge and London Bridge terrorist attacks last year.

When Fewell left the service in August last year to join the British Horseracing Authority, Stearns became acting director of comms at the Met until the position was permanently filled by James Helm, who took up the role in February.

Commenting on his time with the force and the changes made, Stearns told PRWeek: "It has been fantastic being part of the Met. It is the best police force in the world and the comms team play a really important part in that. When I joined we relied on wanted posters – now we talk directly to millions of people through our own social channels."

He said he was proud of the changes in outlook toward police comms during his tenure.

Stearns added: "Internal and integrated comms are valued in a way they were not 10 years ago and it has been fascinating to be part of that. We still have the 24-hour press bureau dealing with hundreds of inquiries every week and there is no doubt policing still fascinates the public – the interest in the BBC documentary The Met: Policing London shows that."

Ruth Shulver, head of corporate comms at Surrey Police and joint chair of the Association of Police Communicators, worked with Stearns when she was formerly director of internal comms at the Met, until April 2013.

She said of his impending departure: "There can't be many communication roles that require the personal resilience demonstrated by Ed in the many years he has given to the Met. He has always been incredibly generous in sharing his and his team's experiences and expertise more widely to the benefit of the whole of UK policing and will be widely missed by his colleagues across the country."

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