From our Readers - Met Police cannot just paper over cracks

Ian Monk's column 'Besieged bobbies need a PR voice' (Opinion, 17 April) was dangerous advice for the Met Police and an insult to fellow PR professionals. Good PR is not about papering over cracks.

The Met is in crisis, but consistently fails to recognise, let alone own up to, its shortcomings or, apparently, do what is necessary to resolve them. Its instinctive reaction to every problem appears as slow, evasive and misinformative. But, while the Met's PR is consistently crass, its problems are much more profound: policy, organisation and management.

As a start to rebuilding confidence among its stakeholders, the Met should follow the simple crisis PR rules: say sorry to those who are hurt/disadvantaged by its errors/faults, explain what happened and how the impacts are being minimised/mitigated/compensated, and detail what is being changed to prevent reoccurrence. 'The Old Bill' used to be a term of respect and endearment. Now it is perilously close to one of the possible derivations listed on the Met's website: 'a racing term for an outsider or unknown quantity'.

PR can help the Met put its house in order. It is not a substitute for doing so.

Malcolm Nash, Malcolm Nash Consulting

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