Bobbies on beat to become PR-savvy

Government attempts to restore public confidence in the justice system could mean that everyday bobbies on the beat will become PR experts.

Police bobby on the beat
Police bobby on the beat

This week's headline-grabbing proposals from Louise Casey, the Government's
crime and communities adv­iser, will ‘revolutionise' police comms, according to senior figures in public sector PR.

Casey's review has called for criminals' punishments to be more ‘visible' in order to res­tore public confidence in the justice system.

The move is intended to imp­rove the balance between treating people, preventing crime and keeping the public informed.

Metropolitan Police chief press off­icer Ed Stearns said: ‘I think we recognise how
important the proactive message is. As with comms in any organisation, we have to evolve. We are fairly aware of the importance of getting articles in the press showing how crimes have been punished.'

Westminster director of comms and Local Government Comms secretary Alex Aiken said: ‘This should change the nature of the police's community comms. They have to revolutionise the way they work.

‘The police senior management have never really listened to police comms people when they said we need a long-term plan.

‘Police management have always said "let's deal with the issue of the day". What they're now looking at is a long-term plan of engagement with the public to explain what they are doing.'
Aiken said Casey's aims could also be met by the new partnerships between police forces and local authorities.

A basic grasp of media relations would also be required on the ground. ‘Police staff would have to be properly PR savvy,' said Aiken.

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