PR injection for Mersey Police

Merseyside Police is expanding its PR team, by creating new positions for a combined communication and marketing manager and corporate information head as well as two press officers. It also has plans to retain a PR agency.

Merseyside Police is expanding its PR team, by creating new

positions for a combined communication and marketing manager and

corporate information head as well as two press officers. It also has

plans to retain a PR agency.



The move comes as the police face increased media scrutiny in the wake

of the recent report into the Stephen Lawrence murder case.



The new head will oversee Merseyside’s seven-strong media services

department, currently headed by Inspector John Riley, in addition to the

newly established central communications group of five staff, which

handles internal PR.



The appointee will report to communications and marketing head, chief

superintendent Mike Culverhouse.



The increased emphasis on communications comes two months after the

screening of the fly-on-the-wall documentary Mersey Blues. Makers of the

series followed Merseyside police for two years as they fought drugs and

organised crime in Liverpool. The programme came under fire for its

portrayal of police corruption and rampant criminality in the area. The

impact of the programme was so great that business leaders in Merseyside

launched a pounds 500,000 campaign in late January aimed at attracting

new businesses.



Culverhouse said the force’s media group would be working to change the

public’s perception of crime rates in Merseyside.



The personnel changes come only weeks after the release of the McPherson

inquiry which claimed institutional racism in London’s Metropolitan

Police.



However, Culverhouse denied this was a factor in the decision to expand

Merseyside’s PR activities.



He added that Merseyside would be looking to retain a PR agency once the

new communications team was in place in May or early June.



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