What is happening to the police?

Last week my grandmother’s car was broken into and my handbag was stolen (see pic below of the little hole that was made).

IMG_4616

I was listening to the radio a few days ago to find Bedfordshire’s Police Crime Commissioner, Olly Martins, making an appeal to open up police uniforms and cars as advertising space.

Police forces in England and Wales have been dealing with cuts since 2011 and as police numbers are declining, a new ideology of ‘self policing’ within society has had a steady incline. There has been a generational introduction of ‘self policing’ in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary whereby they have created a number of campaigns such as their ‘free road safety sessions’ which have been set up around various locations around the Avon and Somerset area to encourage the public to not rely on the police so much in areas where they are able to self-police themselves.

As it currently stands, the police are supposed to be politically neutral, holding no bias or hidden agendas. You have to beg the question that if police forces become reliant on funding from external sources in exchange for sponsorship, the idea of police neutrality will become abolished as it will become tainted by advertising and the agenda’s of whoever is paying their wages. Theoretically, an affluent area could pay for their own police force leaving the poorest areas with nothing.

From a PR perspective I can’t see this working. Communications expert James Hutchinson has highlighted a study, which found that when police officers look more militant, it changes the relationship between them and the public. If Attitudes are changed by police appearance then surely if we strip them of this stance and stick Care Bear adverts on their backs it’ll also be a threat on their authoritative role within society. 

In terms of reputation where businesses are concerned; If a police officer arrests somebody and their picture is taken by the press which is used on the front of a national newspaper, this could be harmful to the reputation of the company/business as there could be negative connotations to that subject specific incident.

It’s doubtful that commercial sponsorship could be the way for police forces to gain funding, but if there’s going to be such vast amounts of cuts within the police then there NEEDS to be a public awareness campaign signifying the dangers of theft and ‘petty crime,’ (much like the one my grandmother and I experienced), including the warning signs and what we can do within our smaller communities to act as a deterrent to criminals.

Essena O’Niell; Is ALL social media fake?

Celebrity blogger Essena O’Neill has sparked debate this week on the arguably “self-absorbed” ‘dark side’ of social media after re-editing Instagram captions revealing how much she was paid to promote products on her account.

O’Neill has now deleted all her superficially perfect social media accounts and has created her own website ‘letsbegamechangers.com‘ where she’ll be vlogging about social media, veganism concepts and interviewing change makers.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 15.21.19

Essena is arguing that we have become part of a society dominated by social media which turns online popularity into “validation from numbers,” “I want people to think about things… It’s freeing when you don’t let social approval define you”.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 15.54.15

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are always aiming to improve on and shape how others see us. Whether that be in an interview, on a date or on social media we cannot ignore the fact that it exists, and social media is the most efficient tool for this. It’s super easy to add a filter to your picture on Instagram in order to reduce the appearance of a blemish or add 2 or 202 connections on LinkedIn to give the impression that you’re well connected. If those connections or filters allow you to feel empowered then why not use them?

I don’t agree with this ideology that ALL social media is fake as it allows us to explore ideas and conclusions that we perhaps would never have come to on our own accord. If it wasn’t for these different platforms and communities of communications I fear many of us would be a lot less open-minded to alternative opinions.

I do think that there’s an issue particularly with the younger epidemic of serial social media users with editing their lives down to this crisp void of perfection and filtering out the ‘ugly’ aspects of reality that everyone has to go through whether you have 10 followers or 10 million. However I think that the people using social media to show their lives as an edited slice is in the minority. I’d like to think that the majority of us have found a healthy balance between using various platforms to our advantage when it comes to filtering a few selfies and understand that the amount of ‘likes’ that somebody else has doesn’t decrease or increase our own self worth.

Nobody has a perfect life, but there’s certainly no harm in sharing good (or not-so-good) moments of our lives with people who we’re connected to online. In a world where we are more connected by our attachment to technology than our attachments to one another, social media is used as a window which is often misinterpreted as a mirror. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to the rose-tinted glass windows of others, nor should we assume that the glass is rose-tinted. Haha.

Yarn bombing in Portishead

I witnessed Yarn bombing first hand on this morning’s trip to the post office with a coffee in one hand and my grandmother’s Shih Tzu in the other. As I was leaving the post office, I could see three elderly ladies congregated around a lamppost gazing at it in awe…

What is Yarn bombing? Yarn bombing or ‘yarnstorming’ originated in the U.S. around 7 years ago and has since crept its way to the UK. Yarn bombing is the act of brightening up local communities via knitting. Guerilla knitters all over the world have taken their knitting and crochets to the streets in order to give their neighbourhoods a sense of quirky individuality.  

This innovative creation got me thinking… Why not take advantage of this graffiti knitting epidemic and use this as a direct form of advertising to send positive messages to IMG_2751people? For one of my university modules my assignment is to create a public health campaign targeted at over 50’s to raise awareness of the risks of alcohol consumption… If we can utilise this urban art and incorporate significant messages within it to persuade middle aged/elderly people to pick up their knitting needles and put down their brandy bottles and create a sense of unity within the community then I think we have found the basis for our public health campaign.

The end result of this campaign will (hopefully) change behavior, so let’s take it a step further than coated lampposts and pleasing material aesthetics on inanimate objects and complement it with optimistic messages to grasp the attention of the public!

To find out more about yarn bombing or to get involved, visit: http://knitthecity.com/what/

Let’s begin with an analogy…

Today is World Vegetarian Day (hooray!) and as a newly confessed veggie I’m going to share with you a little thought that kicked me out of meat eating and into the world of vegetarianism…

Let’s begin with an analogy; picture the universe – massive right? Now think about the billions and trillions of planets just floating around in space right now… Imagine each planet as a singular room inside a colossal mansion. The universe is our home, a gigantic mansion. The world we live on, ‘Earth’, is just another one of the trillion rooms inside this home.

Us humans would most likely see ‘our’ planet as a lounge or living room. However, I think other (potential) life forms watching over us may see it a little differently… Already this year 3.1-billion land animals have been killed in the U.S. to cater to the high demand within meat industry! (If only chocolate was made from piglets, perhaps I wouldn’t be so inclined to inhale so much.)IMG_2542

All jokes aside, it seems bizarre to me that the general social norm on this planet is to shovel dead beings into our bodies – simply because we’re told that this is where we will get some of our nutrients from. I find myself questioning what ‘aliens’ would think of us… Perhaps they’d see our planet as the broken bathroom; a parasite-ridden space simply due to the fact that we slaughter aimlessly for our own needless benefit.

I must admit this sudden U-turn in my ‘usual’ thought process didn’t occur by witnessing some dramatic and bloody experience involving Bambi and a hateful hunter. I was having lunch at Edna’s (vegan) Kitchen in Bristol and overheard a man discussing vegetarianism with one of the waitresses “I don’t walk into a shop and see food anymore, I see chopped up pieces of corpse.”  Which must have been the eureka moment for me because I haven’t touched meat since!

So maybe switch up your diet a little this week, try a vegetarian recipe; swap the bacon sarnie for a guilt-free halloumi wrap!