Minutes APComm Meeting 25 July 2014

Minutes of a Meeting of the Association of Police Communicators
Friday 25 July 2014 at 1030 at Merseyside Police HQ, Liverpool

Persons Present
Sue Appleton (SA) North Wales
Amanda Coleman (AC) GMP Chair
Donna Dawber (DD) Merseyside
Jacqui Hanson (JH) Cheshire Secretary
Glyn Hellam (GH) BTP
Shirley Jones (SJ) Merseyside
Jonathan Leach (JL) Derbyshire
Dave Mackin (DM) Merseyside
Anne Powell (AP) ACPO
Eddie Townsend (ET) Metropolitan
Louise Wood (LW) North Yorkshire

Apologies for Absence
Dan Barton West Midlands Vice Chair
Colin Connolly Hertfordshire
Malcolm Cooke Norfolk
Sarah Cooper Cambridgeshire
Tanya Croft Devon and Cornwall Membership
Tony Diggins Lincolnshire Treasurer
Amanda Hirst Avon and Somerset
Ed Stearns Metropolitan Vice Chair
Miranda Sykes Cleveland
Kate Tonge College of Policing
Andrew Walker Scotland

Note – JH outlined that due to contingency only two members of the Executive Committee were now present at the meeting. There were no items listed on the Agenda which required a vote, so providing those present were in agreement to continue the meeting, it would proceed. All present were in agreement.
Minutes of the Last meeting (11 April 2014)
• Approved as a true record.
• The two outstanding actions were now superseded by the APComm Survey, and were consequently closed. JH to notify action holders.
Chair’s Update
• Members list – A comprehensive list of all members was also in the final stages of completion following work by the Chair and team in GMP. This would comprise over 650 people, and provide the opportunity to not only reach all members with key messages and updates, but to undertake targeted communications within specialist fields across police comms.
• CIPR –The advantaged membership option currently enjoyed by APComm is to be phased out. The Chair is in discussions with CIPR to secure an alternative / compromise option if possible.
• Media\ Law Training sessions – Now all complete with excellent feedback received. Thanks to all forces who hosted a session providing a geographic spread to achieve best possible accessibility for all members to attend.
• ACPO CAG guidance – Still awaiting final version, although it was understood that a final draft would be circulated to a small group of practitioners before publication.
Action 1 / 250714 – JH to enquire with CAG chair regarding current position of the Guidance through the consultation process.

Treasurer’s Report
JH reported on behalf of TD.
• Membership payments – Latest paid up membership list attached – most Forces have paid or are in the process of paying.
• Balance – Current balance is £8,936. Accounts healthy. Survey fee yet to be paid.
• Conference registrations – Forces need to be reminded to register for Conference as soon as possible, otherwise rooms will be released back to the hotel, and money may be lost. Experience tells us that Forces enroll at a late stage. The Conference programme has been circulated already, and is available via the website, allowing Heads of Professions to select attendance options to match the needs of their teams.
• Sponsorship – Volunteer required to co-ordinate conference sponsorship. Four pitches at £1000 each (plus VAT), with interest already expressed. JL agreed to undertake this role.
Action 2 / 250714 – Jonathan Leach to co-ordinate sponsorship arrangements for Conference.

National Conference
AC provided overview of conference programme, and ongoing planning process.

APComm Survey
AC outlined the purpose and expected outcomes of the Survey, which would commence in last week of July. The results would be available at Conference. It had been a decade since the last benchmarking research, undertaken by Rob Mawby. Full details had been provided in a separate circular to Heads of Comms, and would feature in the upcoming Bulletin.

Election of Executive Committee
JH outlined the election process and milestones:
• Deadline for nominations is 30 October 2014
• Candidates were advised to submit their nominations and supporting material in advance, to be profiled on the website.
• Conference provided a key networking opportunity for prospective candidates.
• Results in December 2014
• New post holders commence January 2015.
Nomination form attached.

Any Other Business
Jesip exercise – DD advised that a major exercise would take place in Merseyside on 18 September, providing closure to 2 years of Jesip training. Volunteers were sought to role play, and assist with resilience among the small team in the Merseyside Police Press office. Further details from donna.dawber@merseyside.pnn.police.ukl

Demand for police custody photos – An issue had arisen from Press Gazette reporting on a Force’s position relating to the release of police custody pictures to journalists at the conclusion of court cases. The volume of requests for police PACE photos was growing, and it was often difficult to manage media expectations. Most Force Comms teams were asking journalists to log requests in advance, providing opportunity to make the necessary enquiries supporting the release of the photos. However, journalists were paying little heed to this request, resulting in tensions.
ET advised that the Met now provided rationale only for those photos which were declined, rather than for all.
It was felt that this was an emerging issue which should be sighted by CAG.

Action 3/250714 – JH to flag to CAG for next agenda.

Logging Workshop – This was discussed. It had demonstrated that Forces were adopting different methods of logging. The majority of Forces were pro-active in preparing “For Offer” statements. Practice around disclosures in respect of deaths in custody and officers arrested still varied.

Naming juveniles charged with an offence – ET highlighted a legal challenge to the Met around naming juveniles “not for publication” to journalists to allow them to track a case through court. The Force had been advised that this still amounted to publication, and no longer provided the name in advance. Journalists were advised of the name now on the day of the court appearance only.
FOI – ET advised that the Met had received an FOI request for disclosure of all custody photos released to the media in the last 6 months, and had been advised they must comply with this.

Absconders from open prisons – risk ownership –JL queried whether anyone had a protocol with the Ministry of Justice which governed who owned the risk around prisoners who escaped – the Force of the Ministry of Justice? JH advised she had raised this several years ago at CAG, but the Ministry of Justice had not engaged on the issue. In Cheshire a process had been developed whereby the police were notified of the absconder, a risk assessment was done by the Force, and if the abscondee was assessed as posing a risk to the public at large only, the police issued a wanted appeal, which was shared with the Ministry of Justice and local Probation.
It was felt that the issue should again be flagged to CAG, with the Ministry of Justice invited to dialogue on the matter.

Action 4/250714 – JH to pass to CAG for agenda discussion.

Review – North Wales are currently commencing a review and would welcome talking to anyone who was currently in a similar situation, or emerging from it to make contact – sue.appleton@nthwales.pnn.police.uk

Operation Notarise – There was concern at the lack of advance notice regarding Notarise material, and some of its content. An earlier approach and sharing of proposed content would have resulted in better co-ordination of material entering the public domain.

Code of Ethics – Kate Tonge had requested “critical friend” feedback on the publicity supporting the launch of the Code. Views round the table:
• It was appreciated that considerable effort had gone into producing a range of materials / toolkit.
• There was a real willingness to engage on the issue from the College comms team.
• Too many emails – it was difficult to determine at times where the importance lay.
• Some difficulty accessing
• Not happy with direct email to officers and staff in Forces – this removes the opportunity for corporate messaging supporting the launch within the culture / context of each Force.
• Welsh Forces were inconvenienced as nothing was provided in the welsh medium meaning staff had to be pulled from other work to translate it.
Vuellio – A number of Forces were upgrading from spotlight to Vuellio. LW enquired whether there was opportunity to reduce costs, negotiate around upgrades, etc., through collaborative negotiation and procurement with the service provider.

Action 5 – 250714 – LW to explore options and benefits of collaborative purchasing in respect of Veullio and report back by 30 September 2014.

Date of Next Meeting
The Annual General Meeting will take place at the national Conference in Lincoln on 1 October. The next national APComm meeting will be aligned to the winter ACPO CAG meeting when the dates are confirmed.