Met Police appoints interim comms chief ahead of Helm’s departure

Ruth Shulver will become interim director of comms at the Metropolitan Police later this month, PRWeek has learned.

Ruth Shulver will step up from her current role until a permanent director of comms is appointed at the Met
Ruth Shulver will step up from her current role until a permanent director of comms is appointed at the Met

Ruth Shulver, who is currently deputy director of comms at the Met, will take on the role following the departure of James Helm.

Helm, a former senior journalist and government department comms chief, announced he was stepping down earlier this year after three years in the job.

Shulver, who was previously head of comms at Surrey Police, will take on one of the most intensive jobs in policing comms, for the country’s biggest force, until someone is appointed to the role on a permanent basis.

She will manage a team of about 90 people across external and internal comms, including its 24/7 press office that handles 1,500 enquiries each month from local, regional, national and international media outlets.

Shulver said: “As we recruit for a permanent director… I’m privileged to be looking after the Met’s award-winning comms team in the intervening period. The pace of communication activity and pressures at the MPS are always full throttle, but it is incredibly rewarding to know that the communications you work on each day have a tangible impact on keeping London safe."

Shulver told PRWeek she did not intend to apply for the permanent position.

She added: “We have an incredibly skilled and enthusiastic team and our efforts are always appreciated by the Met’s leadership, so the new director will be very well supported. I’m really looking forward to finding out who will be successful and welcoming them to the Met.”

Reputational challenges

The transition to a new comms chief comes at a difficult moment for the reputation of the Met, after a major independent inquiry into the unsolved murder of the private investigator Daniel Morgan, in 1987, castigated the force for its mismanaged investigation and subsequent attempts to conceal its failings.

Baroness O’Loan, the chair of the independent panel that produced the report, said today: “We believe that concealing or denying failings for the sake of an organisation’s public image is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit, and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”

In a statement responding to the report, the Met said it “deeply regretted” that nobody had been convicted of Morgan’s murder and that it accepted that “corruption was a major factor in the failure of the 1987 investigation”.

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