Do they do digital? APComm audits members to identify skills gaps in police comms

The Association of Police Communicators (APComm) launched its first nationwide audit this week to identify skills gaps among its members.

Claire Ingram says the skills audit is an opportunity to raise the standard of police comms
Claire Ingram says the skills audit is an opportunity to raise the standard of police comms

The results of the audit will inform APComm's tailoring of its training and development programmes over the next two years to meet the needs of police comms teams.

APComm represents hundreds of specialists in corporate comms, PR and media roles at more than 50 police forces and law enforcement agencies across the UK, as well as Office of Police and Crime Commissioners.

Police comms specialists must have a "broad and sophisticated" skillset as well as keeping up with industry developments, APComm said in its call for members to contribute to the audit.

APComm’s audit was prompted by the findings of the latest Global Alliance ‘Global Communications Report’.

The report found that, alongside traditional skills such as crisis management and the ability to write, comms practitioners in the near future will also need expertise in social media, developing multimedia content and understanding data and analytics. 

The findings were based on a global survey of PR and comms professionals, in which 83 per cent of respondents said social-media skills would be necessary for their organisation’s success in the next five years. Strategic planning, leadership and writing were ranked as the top three most-needed skills.

The audit will close in early September after which APComm will analyse the results and develop training programmes to meet its members’ needs.

Claire Ingram, co-chair of APComm and comms manager at Thames Valley Police, said: "With the size and scale of current policing issues, the 24-hour news agenda and the proliferation of digital channels, there has never been greater demand for communicators to produce and deliver effective content, advise operational colleagues and protect the reputation of our organisations while building public confidence."

She added: "Collectively, this is a unique opportunity for us to raise the standards of police communications and increase and demonstrate the value of the great work we do every day."

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