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