Minutes of a Meeting of the Association of Police Communicators
Wednesday 19 October 2016 commencing at 1015 hours – NPCC Offices, Victoria Street, London
1. Persons Present
Nicola Atter Norfolk / Suffolk *arrived at 1130 hours
David Bailey Staffordshire Vice Chair
Michelle Campbell Thames Valley *arrived at 1115 hours
Amanda Coleman GMP Chair
Colin Connolly Hertfordshire
Sarah Cooper Cambridgeshire
Tanya Croft Devon and Cornwall
Sam Edwards Police Federation
Nicola Growcott NPCC
Jacqui Hanson NPCC Operation Hydrant Secretary
Donna Jordan Nottinghamshire
Jonathan Leach Derbyshire
Lynn Marsh Cheshire
Emily Northcote Dyfed-Powys
David Old Bedfordshire
Katie Perkin Sussex
Kate Quilley Warwickshire / West Mercia
Ruth Shulver Surrey Vice Chair
Ed Stearns MPS Vice Chair
Edward Townsend City of London
2. Apologies for Absence
Sue Appleton North Wales
Donna Dawber Merseyside
Andrew Hickley Norfolk / Suffolk
Amanda Hirst Avon and Somerset
Rachel Hyde Hertfordshire
Claire Ingram Thames Valley Vice Chair
Tony Diggins Lincolnshre Treasurer
Suzanne Hughes Humberside
Donna Veasey Essex
3. Minutes of the Last Meeting (6 July 2016)
Approved as an accurate record by those present.
4. Open Actions
Action 1 of 26/06/16 – David Bailey to undertake alternative benchmarking work to capture how Forces are communicating to various audience groups to deliver core police communications business.
Update – Online survey ongoing and approaching conclusion. DB to provide feedback at Conference 2016 in November. Action closed.
Action 1 of 12/04/16 – Amanda Coleman (APComm Chair), Nicola Growcott (NPCC Comms) and Jason Lavan (College of Policing) to refresh and recirculate the Terms of Reference capturing the distinct purposes and areas of overlap, of the three bodies in progressing and developing police communications.
Update – Liaison to progress this ongoing. Action carried forward TO January 2017 meeting.
Action 1 of 06/07/16 – Secretary to source quotes and circulate options for Media Law Training sessions for members.
Update – Amanda Ball had been commissioned to deliver four Media Law Training sessions across the country. Ten Forces had offered to host, and from these four regions had been selected to achieve best geographical reach. Members had been provided with an update via the APComm Bulletin, and course dates and locations would be shared and registration opened in November. Action closed.
Action 2 of 06/07/16 – Chair to source quotes from training providers to deliver Resilience Training sessions for APComm members and progress to delivery.
Update – Robertson Cooper selected as service provider. First course delivered at GMP HQ in October 2016. Further details in Chair’s Update. Action closed.
Action 3 of 06/07/16 – Claire Ingram to progress proposals in the Website Review paper, and pull together a small sub-group to assist if required, with a view to launch at Conference in November 2016.
Update – Work is ongoing and progress has been made in identifying and collating content. However, competing demand had resulted in the delivery date being delayed until January 2017. CI to provide update at next national meeting. Action brought forward.
Action 4 of 06/07/16 – Ruth Shulver to collate feedback regarding practices supporting missing persons, liaise with Wiltshire as lead force for this business area, and prepare a draft document for submission to the College of Policing for consideration as APP.
Update – RS has liaised with Wiltshire (whose Chief Constable is the national lead for missing persons) and Norfolk (whose Chief Constable is the national lead for child sex abuse). Wiltshire have already commissioned a piece of work which involves all Forces being visited by Inspector Steve Cox to determine their approach. This review will now include communications. RS will liaise with Ins Cox when his review is complete to understand the findings as they relate to communications, and will report back to APComm. Action closed.
5. Chair’s Update (Amanda Coleman)
• Resilience training – Initial session supplied by Roberston Cooper had taken place at GMP HQ in October. Feedback had been hugely positive, and the course was over-subscribed. A second session was now available for delivery, and the Chair sought a host from the southern regions to volunteer to host to provide geographical spread on availability of the training. Forces wishing to host should email the secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Penalty fee – The Resilience Training session, like many other APComm courses, was provided free of charge for the benefit of members. The course had been oversubscribed. However, like other APComm courses a small number of members either failed to attend or to provide notice of non-attendance which was too late to enable the available places to be attended by someone on the reserve list. The Chair proposed that moving forward, members who registered and either failed to attend a course, or who failed to provide three working days notice of cancellation, would be required to pay a fee to meet the cost of their place. The fee would be waived if the non-attendee ensured the available place was filled by an APComm member who attended and completed the course. All present were in favour of this as a course of action.
• Local Government Communications and Fire PRO – The Chair was still endeavouring to arrange a meet and liaise session to progress shared workstreams and issues with these partners.
• PRCA / CCPD – APComm is now one of only sixteen organisations whose training is accredited by these professional bodies. The PRCA were also supporting Conference 2016 as sponsors. The Chair was in the process of preparing an outline of training opportunities available.
6. Treasurer and Membership Secretary Report (Jacqui Hanson)
In the absence of the Treasurer, JH provided an overview of funds and membership.
All but three Forces had renewed membership for the current year –
• City of London – Edward Townsend reported that payment was progressing through the procurement process.
• Essex – No representative present.
• Kent – Had been the only UK Force not to participate in membership for several years, but had expressed their intention to take up membership in the new financial year.
Accounts were healthy with a balance of £18,000.
Anticipated expenditure would arise through four Media Law Training Sessions, and two Resilience Training Sessions. Conference will be self-financing.
The Treasurer’s Report was received without comment.
7. Conference 2016 (Ed Stearns)
ES provided an overview of the completed programme.
An interactive session on communications supporting PCCs, required around eight Police and Crime Commissioners, some new to office and some in second term, to be filmed answering a set of questions. This would form a vox pop session which would inform debate.
Action 1: 19/10/16 – Members who had a PCC prepared to be filmed for the session were asked to contact Ruth Shulver ASAP – email@example.com
Conference bookings were high, with numbers challenging last year’s record totals.
8. Communications Inputs to National Policing Courses (Kate Quilley)
West Mercia were called upon to provide communications input to the SIO Development Programme courses at Ruyton, due to their proximity. This, at times, offered challenges to the Force’s capacity. KQ had approached APComm to determine whether support could be provided from members to deliver the communications input.
Following discussion, it was agreed that communications input to all College hosted courses should be explored to ensure that it was provided by practising police communications specialists, and was in line with current national guidance and practice. Provision for PNIC should also be scrutinised, and that provided to SCC.
Action 2 – 19/10/16 – Secretary to coordinate fact finding enquiries with the College, PNIC, and SCC to map current communications input to development courses, assess and quality assure, and report back to January 2017 meeting.
In the meantime, KQ to provide lesson plan for the session input by West Mercia with dates to Secretary who would make enquiries among members to share the input.
9. BME recruitment (Katie Perkin)
KP sought advice from members around good practice in achieving targeted BME recruitment of officers and staff.
• AC reported that GMP had achieved 50% such recruitment through a programme of direct engagement at focused events, and through apprenticeships. The Force was now working to manage any challenges that may arise as the more diverse intake joins the Force.
• DB stated that 70% of BME applicants who expressed an interest via the website in Staffordshire, did not follow up and submit an application form. Work was ongoing to understand and counter this.
• DJ detailed Op Voice in Nottinghamshire, where champions in force go out and directly talk and engage with BME communities, as well as “talent spotting” opportunities via Linked In and other forums.
Contributors would provide KP with details of their activities.
Action 3 : 06/07/16 – KP to collate all best practice, summarise, and provide update for sharing section of new APComm Website.
10. Collecting Digital Evidence in a Major Incident (Katie Perkin)
Advice was sought on innovative ways to collate digital material captured by the public during a major incident. Suggestions included:
• Dropbox (Several Forces)
• CMS on website ready to go live, which included geo-location. Responses arrive as email on spreadsheet, and IP address is captured. System pre-tested. (Staffordshire)
• Ap – New Ap available using google maps. Yet to be fully explored and tested. (Devon and Cornwall)
ES queried whether the Police IT company, or current provision for CTU contingencies, offered solutions. It was agreed that NPCC would explore technology available “in house” and report back to next meeting.
Action 4 of 19/10/16 – Forces to email Nicola Growcott with their solutions, and NG will explore “in house” options available via Police IT company and CTU. Responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Documentary Requests – Best Practice Guidance (Ruth Shulver)
Requests for participation in documentaries continued to arrive in significant numbers to Forces. Following discussion, RS agreed to collate current practice and develop a Top Tips guidance sheet to assist Forces and offer opportunity to standardise approaches going forward.
Action 5 of 19/10/16 –Ruth Shulver to develop set of questions for Forces to respond to, which will be collated and inform Top Tips guidance in respect of participation in documentaries and similar.
12. Organisational Learning (Ruth Shulver)
A Heads of Communications workshop would take place in the New Year to provide the opportunity for Heads of Profession to network, share issues, and discuss solutions. The event would take place on 10 April 2017 – the day prior to the scheduled April APComm meeting. Details would be circulated in the New Year.
Action 6 : 19/10/16 – Ruth Shulver to plan a Heads of Communications workshop to take place in April 2017.
13. Any Other Business
Tanya Croft – Devon and Cornwall had developed some new visual branding for the Emergency Services Interoperability Programme for local delivery. The branding had been developed using a local company based in Bristol, Halo, and was due to go live in the county in 2019. This branding had been viewed by the national team, who were now keen for a wider adoption of the branding to be rolled out. However, delays in delivery of the ESIP meant this might be some time away.
14. Crime Reporters Association
DCC Gareth Morgan, Chair of the NPCC Communications Advisory Group, joined the meeting for this agenda item.
The newly reformed Crime Reporters Association had requested the opportunity to meet with APComm . Chair, Chris Greenwood (Daily Mail) outlined their membership, explained that the CRA had a new approach, and discussed current challenges.
The CRA were keen to develop dialogue with Forces to achieve understanding around shared challenges or points of tension. The opportunity to meet locally with comms teams and chief officers was extended.
Discussion and questions centred on:
• Suspect anonymity in sex offence investigations – the CRA were against this. It was highlighted to the CRA that police did not name or identify suspects pre-charge except for exceptional circumstances where there was a clear and documented policing purpose.
• The importance of the CRA developing local contacts.
• RSS feeds – National newspapers were overwhelmed by RSS feeds from Forces. The CRA requested that cases of national interest were flagged to them initially so that they had a heads up.
• Challenge – how were the CRA going to rebuild confidence among the rank and file and chief officers – what had changed? The answer was a willingness to dialogue, to accept challenges, forge professional relationships, and discuss tensions.
• APP – The CRA had participated in the consultation and offered some challenges to proposals within the APP.
In conclusion, the CRA were thanked for their attendance, for their direct and frank approach, and for their willingness to accept challenge and questions.
The meeting concluded at 1215.
Date of next Meeting
The next meeting will take place at 1030 a.m. on Wednesday 4 January 2017 at the NPCC Offices, 10 Victoria Street, London.