Sir Hugh Orde opened the national APComm conference on Wednesday 6 November 2013 focusing on the importance of the professional police communicators.
The President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said the press officer was always the first person he called when dealing with incidents as a senior police officer.
It was the first time in memory that the President of ACPO has spoken to the members of APComm at the national conference.
Sir Hugh said the most important role for corporate communications staff in the future was to be able to challenge upwards. He added: “There is an increasingly important role for communication staff to support continuity and to be the corporate memory.”
He emphasised the importance of communication to the police service but recognised it is against a challenging backdrop particularly financially and with the ‘fragmentation of communication’.
“We need to find innovative ways of communicating,” Sir Hugh told the conference. “I want to congratulate those forces that have grasped social media and I hope the learning will travel around the service.”
He said the police service must play a role in ensuring the media have the right information and that officers must keep talking, engaging and answering difficult questions.
In a lively question and answer session he covered issues from police IT, the political environment, who the good police officer communicators were and accountability.
The conference runs until Friday 8 November 2013 at Belton Woods, Lincolnshire.