APComm Conference 2014 Day Three

Code of Ethics

Day three of the conference started with an input on the recently launched Code of Ethics for policing.

The session was started by the College of Policing and national ethics lead for policing Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer setting out the key elements of the code of ethics.

Kate Tonge, College of Policing head of communication, set out what the code of ethics is and how it impacts on all involved in policing. She outlined the further work from the College to assist in embedding the code within police forces.

Chief Constable Cheer highlighted the dilemmas for communicators by looking at what it means to be transparent, open and honest. She raised some issues of the challenges for individual communicators on a personal level and also within their professional activity. CC Cheer made an important point that if you employ professional communicators then senior police officers should listen to the advice.

The session really highlighted the daily ethical dilemmas that police communicators face and the importance of providing professional advice and feeling able to challenge senior officers or provide a contrary view of events.

APComm is going to work with the College of Policing to develop a workshop on dealing with the ethical dilemmas for communicators.


Freedom of Information

Most force communicators spend a considerable amount of time dealing with Freedom of Information issues and Graham Smith from the Information Commissioner’s Office outlined why it exists and what it means for policing.

Graham is the Deputy Commissioner and Director of Freedom of Information, and he started by talking through transparency and the importance of FOI to the public. He talked about proactive and reactive transparency.

One key thread of the presentation was whether it was in the best interest of the organisation to withhold information through exemptions. Graham also referenced the publication of ‘big data’ for people to be able to use.

Key Note Speaker

APComm was really honoured to have Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe as the final speaker for the day to talk about police communication. The Commissioner gave delegates the opportunity to ask questions which included reflections on his career.

To close the conference, APComm chair Amanda Coleman reviewed the three days and outlined further work that would be taken forward after the conference.