Humberside Police beefs up comms department

Humberside Police Force has trebled the size of its comms function in a bid to tackle its ­ailing reputation.

Boosting the team from four to 12, the force has ­introduced its first staff dedicated to PR.

Director of marketing and PR Philip Kirk said the priority was dealing with public ­confidence issues.

Kirk has brought in four divisional campaign officers to oversee PR at a local level; two media officers to cover media liaison and attend major incidents; and a two-strong marketing team responsible for publications, internal comms and e-communications.

‘My main role is to support the chief constable's aim of restoring local confidence in a force that has undergone trying times,' said Kirk.

Other priorities include strengthening community ties and communicating better with minority groups.

Humberside Police has been dogged by controversy in recent years, including its failure to keep records on convicted Soham child killer Ian Huntley.

Humberside Police Authority chairman Colin Inglis famously refused to comply with an order from then home secretary David Blunkett to sack then chief constable David Westwood over his handling of the investigation.

The order followed the Bichard Inquiry ­into the Soham murders.

Other recent concerns include the force's ‘below average' grading by watchdog the Audit Commission.

Before joining the force last October, Kirk was head of the media development team at Royal Mail. He now reports directly to chief constable Tim Hollis, who succeeded Westwood.

Humberside Police controls 29 stations, staffed by nearly 3,000 officers. 

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