So, you want my job? Public affairs officer at the National Police Chiefs' Council

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Robert Hardware's job as public affairs officer at the National Police Chiefs' Council?

More than 80 per cent of all calls to the police are non-crime-related, says Robert Hardware
More than 80 per cent of all calls to the police are non-crime-related, says Robert Hardware


Robert Hardware.


Public Affairs Officer, National Police Chiefs' Council.

Starting salary/salary band for the job?

Metropolitan Police band C, plus location allowance and on-call payments.

What qualifications do you need?

Educated to degree level or equivalent, or relevant work experience in a public affairs or communications role.

What level of experience do you need?

A solid understanding of politics and Parliament is a must. I spent the previous four years working in the House of Commons, which was invaluable to understand the nitty-gritty of the Parliamentary process, although a good understanding of how politicians work is more important to the job than the in-depth detail of procedure.

Is previous experience in a public-sector comms role necessary/useful?

It's definitely helpful – especially if that experience is policing-related – although not essential. Experience working in a busy and varied role and a willingness to jump in and learn on the job is much more important.

What are the main day-to-day challenges?

Probably recognising that you're not going to get everyone on-side, given how varied stakeholders at this level of policing are. It can be difficult enough within policing, but then add government departments into the mix, non-government organisations and sometimes political parties, and you're rarely going to get everyone moving in the same direction. Still, making sure that everyone has the right information and hears about the challenging work and dedication of police officers and staff is vital.

What is the best part of the job?

Having an excuse to pop in to the Parliamentary bars! In all seriousness it has to be the people I get to work and interact with on a daily basis. We have a fantastic team with a massive amount of experience between us and I don't think there has ever been a day where I haven't learned something new. Knowing that my knowledge of Parliament and politics is helping to inform and advise some of the most senior police chiefs in the country is also a fantastic feeling.

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job?

Perhaps more interesting than unusual: around 20 per cent of all the people that the police deal with are suffering from mental ill-health and 83 per cent of all calls to the police are about non-crime-related incidents.

If you get an interview, do say…

That you’re excited to work as part of a small team in a constantly changing environment and willing to throw yourself into whatever comes up next.

If you get an interview, don't say…

We tell police forces what to do, right?

If you're good at this job you might also be well-suited to…

Sniffing out the bars where civil servants and politicos congregate. Or, working in pretty much any public-affairs role, given the experience you will have gained working with and advising some of the most senior policing leaders in the country.

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

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