Liverpool guards its reputation

A member of Liverpool City Council's media team has told how it acted swiftly to def­end the city's reputation following this week's media storm around the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Rhys Jones.

Rhys Jones: family visit the scene
Rhys Jones: family visit the scene

As well as expressing their sympathy to the family, council PR chiefs were det­ermined to ensure that the murder was discussed in the context of a national problem.

The council’s nine-strong media team proactively released statistics to show that the incident was isolated and that Liverpool has a lower number of gun crime incidents than other UK cities including Manchester, Middlesbrough, Nottingham and Birmingham.

Prinicipal news officer Rich­ard Farnell said: ‘Without taking anything away from the absolutely appalling incident and our heartfelt sympathies, we wanted to ensure that the media’s concentration on Liverpool in the holiday month of August did not mean a distorted image of the city started running away with itself.

‘The message we wanted to get out is that despite Southern bias and the outdated stereotype of Liverpool, we are one of the safest cities in the UK and the issue of gun crime is a problem that faces all large cities.’

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