Let me be clear from the start. I am not an academic, I do not like formalised studying, I do not have a degree and I have resisted at least three opportunities to study for one at someone else’s expense. The main reason being that I simply haven’t seen the point in obtaining one. This doesn’t mean I am “anti-degree” nor does it mean that I do not recognise the many benefits of higher education and lifelong learning.
Over the last few days it has even been suggested that I resent students because they are fast-tracked for promotion ahead of me. Given that I made the rank of Inspector in seven years and was accepted on to the High Potential Development Scheme as a sergeant without a degree then I steadfastly refute that accusation.
I am absolutely delighted to host this blog from public relations advisor and fundraiser Gemma Pettman.
Gemma has previously worked within police corporate communications and a large police charity, but now runs her own company helping charities to raise their profile and increase their income.
Gemma has very kindly given the Red Button Project the benefit of her experience and offers her view on how the police might better communicate with the public at a time when it seems they can’t do anything right.
Over the last few days the issue of what cuts to police budgets might mean has finally gained some traction in the media.
First we had Merseyside CC Sir Jon Murphy speaking plainly and honestly about what the re-structure of the force would look like:
“We will not deliver as good as service as we have done before. In some instances it will take us longer to get there. In some cases we won’t turn up. That’s an inevitable consequence of having less people to do more work.”
Things were different when I joined. Well, they were. This was back in 1994, I was a boy. I didn’t have the first damn clue what I was letting myself in for. I had wanted to be a policeman since I sat staring in awe at the copper stood in full Number 1 uniform lining the route of the Queen’s Jubilee tour in 1977. I was 3.
“What’s that medal for?” asked my father pointing at the Long Service and Good Conduct medal proudly displayed on his chest.
“Not getting found out.” he replied with a wink.
One of the main things I have noticed over the past 5 years or so is the increasing reliance on the police to perform functions for which they were never intended. Often, these functions are usually within the remit of other organisations who now simply have either no will or no resources to perform them.
Usually there is a phonecall from another organisation during which a crisis or situation is described and there is an attempt to seemingly transfer the risk and responsibility to the police.