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
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
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.