PUBLIC SECT0R: Manchester Police to revamp comms

Greater Manchester Police is to revamp its communications strategy in a bid to avoid a repeat of last year's race riots.

The force is now ploughing through evidence from a recent consultation project among young adults from the Indian and Pakistani communities in Bolton. This will then be added into the existing area-wide strategy.

Issues to emerge so far include a need for more face-to-face contact and a broadening of the range of community representatives that are communicated with. Currently local councillors are seen as the main community representatives.

In terms of which media are trusted, the local press and national tabloids scored poorly compared to favourable comments in focus groups for the broadcast media.

Amanda Coleman, assistant director (communications) who is overseeing the strategy revamp, said a greater use of the mainstream media in communicating with the ethnic media is likely to be added to the comms strategy.

Another issue to emerge from the research was widespread misuse of the 999 service. Coleman added that a promotional campaign targeting all sections of the community to halt inappropriate use is also set to take place.

During the spate of rioting last year, Oldham in Greater Manchester was affected, as were Burnley and Bradford.

GMP is currently promoting among staff and the community a recent restructure in Oldham where its two divisions were increased to six.

This restructure was created to improve links between officers and the community, something that was called for in an independent review into the rioting.

Coleman said: 'As we approach 12 months since the disturbances, GMP has come a long way, refining and challenging existing comms plans. There is still much work to be done and inclusive communication is one of our key PR objectives.'

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