Elections update – voting now closed

APComm nomination process closed

The nomination process to select a new Executive Committee for the Association of Police Communicators has now closed.

Thank you to everybody who expressed an interest in standing for post or supported or endorsed a nomination.

Three roles were uncontested, and will not form part of the voting process. Our current Chair, Amanda Coleman (Greater Manchester Police), will remain in post for a further year providing continuity during one of the most challenging periods for police communications.

In addition to this, the role of Secretary remains with Jacqui Hanson (Cheshire), while the newly merged post of Treasurer and Membership Secretary will sit with Tony Diggins (Lincs).

Amanda said: “I am pleased to see the considerable interest expressed by members keen to take an active part in APComm. This will continue to  move our professional association forward, particularly with the challenges we all face daily in respect of increasing demand, reducing resources, and the growing complexity of the communications landscape.

“It is great to have new blood and ideas within the association but I am also delighted to have the opportunity to continue as chair for another 12 months. I welcome the nominations from the 10 people standing for our four vice chair roles. Please can members take the time to read the submissions from each of the nominees, get in touch with them if you want to know more, and then make sure you cast your corporate votes.”


Voting Opens

Voting is now open, and will close at 4 p.m. on Friday 28 November 2014.

Each member Force is entitled to up to four votes per Force for four Vice Chair roles.  Heads of Profession are asked to consult with their teams to ensure that each vote is collective. Where communications teams are spread across police and OPCC  members, consultation should take place to achieve a collective vote for the Force.

Votes should be emailed to jacqui.hanson@cheshire.pnn.police.uk. Queries about the voting process can also be directed to the Secretary at this email address.

Nomination 1

David Bailey, Staffordshire Police

David BaileyI believe my energy and passion for developing professional communications and engagement would further support the important work of APCOMM in raising the profile of effective communications team in policing.

I have been working within police communications for fourteen years and have developed a great deal of passion and commitment in developing new and innovative approaches to how the police service engages with communities.

To support us in building capacity and capability to help the service protect and reassure the communities we serve, it is vital that we understand the impact of our actions, and use our skills and knowledge to ensure the services we provide suit the needs of the community.

I have been recognised for developing effective approaches in delivering neighbourhood policing communications. This included being an active member of the ACPO neighbourhood policing communications group.

Over the last few years I have been recognised nationally and internationally for my knowledge and expertise in police use of social media. I recently worked with Facebook Europe to ensure all British Police pages were verified.

Facebook published their first case study about how a Government agency uses their platform on Staffordshire Police. This recognised achievements in Staffordshire and how we has become an example of best practice across the world. Facebook regularly recommend by personal blog of police communications to senior leaders across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. I regularly share my knowledge and experience to colleagues via shared learning events including involvement in recent CEPOL courses and webinars.

As a result of this expertise I have been invited to speak at a number of high profile conferences including the Social Media World Forum where I shared the stage with Channels 4’s head of digital and LinkedIn’s UK CEO. Also I presented at the CIPR first social media conference when the CIPR book Share This was launched.

Over the last year I studied and successfully gained my CIPR diploma in Public Relations, which vastly increased my knowledge of measuring and evaluation of communications activity. Since this I have been supporting colleagues to further professionalise the work of the communications team, and encouraging colleagues to challenge tasks to ensure they are focused on the outcome rather than the output of their activity.

I have been involved in many APCOMM and previously APPRO events and fully support the role of the association in supporting and developing both colleagues and the profession.

Nomination 2

Dan Barton, West Midlands Police

Dan BartonI currently serve as a vice-chair and am keen to continue in the role.

There’s no doubt that Apcomm has been reinvigorated in the last two years and that is down to the enthusiasm and hard work of the executive members working together.

Apcomm has built membership and built reputation.

As vice-chair I have dedicated much time to supporting the organisation, not just bringing ideas and experience to the role, but also being called upon to represent police communicators in a number of national conferences through the year.

Along with the other executive members I have helped support, shape and promote the now annual conference in Lincolnshire which has proved so popular.

If re-elected I want to continue to support our members and promote their good work as widely as possible as we continue to face financial restraints.

The reputation of Apcomm has probably never been higher. The opportunity now is to build even further on that success and be seen as it should be: the essential organisation for police communicators.

Nomination 3

Gemma Bell, Humberside Police

Gemma BellI have worked at Humberside Police within the media liaison side of Corporate Communications since January 2001 and am currently the External Communications Manager for the force. Prior to policing I worked as a journalist on a local daily newspaper for three years.

Having now worked within police communications for 14 years I’ve witnessed many changes. Gone are the days when we distributed news and appeals via the fax machine at huge expense to the force. Now we are using the more instantaneous tools of social media and websites which are also more far reaching and of course cheaper.

However as I see it we are still trying to achieve pretty much the same thing. Our role is about supporting our operational colleagues in their daily work through comprehensive, concise and coherent communications using the tools available to us.

During this time of ever shrinking budgets we need to use APComm more smartly as a way of tapping into the skills and expertise up and down the country and sharing best practice and great ideas.

We all have a similar purpose and share objectives and I think there is more that can be done to work collectively to better serve our own forces and in doing so the police service as a whole.

I’m keen to find a way of pulling together more as force communications units to better pool our resources by looking at the talents our staff have and making greater use of them.

I would like to see more improved sharing of campaigns and campaign material, helping to spread costs and promote successful initiatives among our members.

I’d like to explore the possibility of working to a nationally agreed calendar of campaigns so activity is co-ordinated across the country, that way we could consider buying in resources through APComm and sharing them among forces rather than doing it individually.

Most crimes are not location specific; a burglary in Humberside is much the same as one anywhere else in the country, so campaign activity could be used in the same way everywhere. Admittedly this would require effort in terms of co-ordination and planning but it should be possible and in the long term cost effective.

If I am elected I’d like to drive forward these ideas and would look forward to working with colleagues around the country to achieve this.

Nomination 4

Nick Cloke, Dorset Police

Nick ClokeIn February this year I returned to Dorset, where I started my career in police communications over a decade ago. My experience spans all corporate communications disciplines across three forces. Throughout my last five years in senior management roles, I have committed to investing considerable time in the professional development of my teams locally and colleagues nationally.

I contribute to both the National Police Communicators Course and the Strategic Media Handling Course, operated in association with APComm. As such, I already work closely with Tony Diggins at Lincolnshire, who directs these courses. I am applying for this position with his support following conversations and much thought.

As well as helping to professionally develop police communicators, I commit time to improving the knowledge of the police officers and staff we work with, particularly in areas where communications activity can have a direct impact on operational outcomes. I advise the College of Policing’s Gold Public Order Commanders’ course, drawing on experience of this area of policing in Sussex, and also support their Multi-Agency Gold Incident Commanders’ course. In addition, I have assessed other force’s communications models for major incidents as an umpire for Home Office counter-terrorism exercises.

Locally, I have designed and implemented a bespoke learning and development approach tailored to police communicators. This has led to increased time and focus on professional development in my teams, with successful business cases made for financial investment in academic and professional training when required.

Although professional development is a real interest of mine, I don’t claim to have all the answers. If appointed to this role, an early priority would be to investigate the various local training approaches used across the country to identify and share best practice. In addition to sharing these force-level findings, I would use my knowledge of the College of Policing’s training approach to help deliver APComm and the ACPO Communications Advisory Group’s shared desire for national police training to be fully recognised by the College and aligned to Authorised Professional Practice.

I would also enjoy working with colleagues on the APComm Executive as a Committee member, becoming an active and regular participant. In particular, I see an important role in ensuring the voice of police communicators working for the many smaller, more rural forces is heard alongside those from the fewer but larger urban forces.

Nomination 5

Sam Edwards, National Police Coordination Centre

Sam EdwardsHaving worked as a communications professional for six years I am an individual who likes to bring energy and enthusiasm to all roles, projects, events or operations I am involved in.

I have been fortunate enough to gain experience in a variety of communications positions for a number of organisations both here and abroad in my career to date.

Learning and developing my skills and experience as a press officer in Wiltshire Police I was fortunate enough to take this knowledge forward into a position with South Australia Police which helped me expand and adapt my knowledge for effective working on a larger scale.

Since returning to the UK I have been working on secondment as a Communications Officer with the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) where I have thoroughly enjoyed working alongside colleagues in the ACPO Press Office to help deliver effective communications support in response to national policing issues that ultimately affect all forces.

I am a true believer that when you enjoy something it is that much easier to take forward that natural motivation to achieve highly and to get things done.

I thoroughly enjoy working within the policing environment but appreciate the frustrations of ever increasing work demands alongside on-going budget cuts and large scale organisational changes as highlighted by the recent results of the APComm survey.

There is a wealth of knowledge and experience amongst communications colleagues across the UK with some fantastic examples of forward thinking for how we continue to deliver an effective service in an ever changing environment.

Whilst working in a role that brings me into contact with you all on a regular basis I would love the opportunity to build on these relationships and take forward your views, thoughts and ideas, alongside my own, to help ensure we continue to be respected and effective experts in our field and continue to develop, adapt and share ideas to help achieve our shared aim of keeping the public safe.

Nomination 6

Rosie Gooch, Office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner

Rosie GoochI am a Senior Corporate and Digital Communications Manager for the Office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, managing our press office, media campaigns and digital engagement programme.

I came to this role with over 10 years Marketing and Communications experience in the private, charity and public sectors. This included representing household brands as a PR Account Director, managing a busy in-house press office for a leading holiday company, and delivering the rebrand of a local hospice across its retail estate.

I have also worked in the Media Relations team at Sussex Police and, more recently, Sussex Police Authority managing change communications and engagement around the transition to Police & Crime Commissioner.

Having previously gained a CIM Advanced Certificate in Marketing, earlier this year I successfully completed a CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing. I was also one of a small number of police communicators to be selected to represent UK Policing during the 2014 NATO Summit in South Wales, the UK’s largest ever policing operation.


As an APCC representative on APComm, I believe my experience in both operational policing and police governance would enable me to identify with and represent the interests of all specialist police communications professionals.

The introduction of Police & Crime Commissioners has provided a unique opportunity for members of the public to have a say in local policing priorities. It has also put a spotlight on police accountability.

As specialist police communications professionals we can play a key role in helping to build trust and confidence in the police. This is somewhere I feel digital communications can play an important part – building more connected communities linking local people with their police force and their elected representative. This is also an opportunity for all our organisations to work better together.

As a supervisor I actively pursue continuous professional development both personally and to help develop the knowledge and skills of members of my team. I would welcome the prospect of helping to widen training opportunities for all specialist police communicators through APComm working in partnership with the College of Policing.

As a Vice Chair I would like to see the interests and ambitions of the APCC and all PCC communicators, represented on the APComm Board.

Nomination 7

Helen Kennedy, Wiltshire Police

Helen KennedyI have 13 years of experience in media and communications and feel passionate about professionalising our service. My vision as Vice-Chair would be to look at best practice and training in particular. I want to work with members to identify gaps in the profession and see if APComm is able to deliver some meaningful training for its members.

Whether working towards more regional Media Law training sessions for members or developing new training (outside of the Lincolnshire courses) at both the tactical and strategic levels, I believe this would benefit members and also raise the profile of APComm throughout the police service.

There is a training gap for senior staff in police communications and not enough sharing of best practice. I would like to try to tap into best practice across all of our forces and whether sharing an experience via the newsletter or using online toolkits to share strategies and policies, I want to make it easier for members to access information.

In addition to this I would like to work with the College of Policing to see if APComm would be able to tap into their resources to join forces to provide training or communication toolkits to help us maintain professional standards. For example we could develop a media training package that all forces could tap into and use. I envisage this would include session notes, presentation slides, templates and even somewhere where members could share Youtube clips of interviews gone wrong to use in training sessions.

I am also hoping that I will be able to give an interactive presentation to support the yearly conference where I have dealt with some significant legal challenges to share best practice.

I would be delighted to be given a role and look forward to working with you.

Nomination 8

Michelle Nicholls, Thames Valley Police

Michelle NichollsI have over 16 years experience as a communications professional working in both the public and private sector. Although I have spent the last 6 years working for the police I have a broad communications background working in consultancy and in house communications roles across a number of sectors.

If I were successful in my nomination as a vice chair I would like to help APComm raise it’s profile with the College of Policing and take a more active role in shaping the training inputs given to police officers and staff in relation to communications and media handling on the senior leaders courses. I would also like to see APComm take a more active role in shaping how media handling/communications is assessed within the Strategic Command Course.

As the lead body of communications experts for policing I think APComm have a bigger role to play in sharing best practice and organisational learning across all the Forces in relation to communications issues. I would like to explore the possibility of a central repository for things like new policies, processes, incident plans, structures etc which all Force comms teams can contribute to and access. We often get emails asking for our structure chart or on call arrangements etc when other teams are benchmarking so the central repository would provide this facility as well as sharing best practice.

I would also like to explore to possibility of a practitioners forum/online community where the Force comms teams can network and get advice from peers.

In my current role I have started to do some analysis of the market in terms of benchmarking salaries within police communications against other comms roles. Certainly in the South we are facing real issues regarding retention of police staff because we can’t compete with other sectors in terms of salaries and benefits for similar roles. I think APComm have a role to play in looking at this nationally and raising the issue and risks this will continue to present.

I am keen to get involved in all aspects of APComm and would enjoy working with other communications colleagues from across the country.

Nomination 9

Ruth Shulver, Surrey Police

Ruth ShulverI would bring a breadth of police communication experience to the role, having worked in external and internal communication at the largest force in the country, the Metropolitan Police Service, for 12 years before becoming being Head of Communication at one of the countries smaller forces at Surrey.

I am already an active member of APComm, helping organise the annual conference for the last two years and I would like to extend my involvement by seeking election as a Vice Chair.

If I was successful the key areas I would like to progress for APComm are:

  1. Training and best practice:

Work with the ACPO Communication Advisory Group (CAG), the College of Policing, and the Government Communication Service to develop training events to share evidence of what works using evidence based best practice, (for example using the evidence of behavioural theory to increase the effectiveness of our communication).

2. Making communication budgets go further:

Promote more effective national join up, research, problem solving, and shared creatives and content on core local proactive police campaigns relevant to a range of forces, e.g. burglary, domestic abuse, etc.

3.Strengthening our crisis and emergency planning:

Create a knowledge bank of communication learning from critical and major incidents that can be used in local training and local major incident communication plans.

4.Actively engage junior members of police communication departments in informing the work of APComm.

In addition I would continue to support the ongoing continual improvement and stakeholder engagement work of APComm and help the Committee to continue to raise the profile of the professionalism of police communication.

Nomination 10

Ed Stearns, Metropolitan Police

Ed StearnsAs the recent APComm survey shows it is important that those in key staff roles in police forces have a voice. APComm has created a great vehicle – one that can be built on over the coming year. It is important that we influence senior police leaders to prove the value of police communications not only highlighting the pressures we are under but showcasing the importance of professional communication advice.

With the scale and range of issues handled in police communications we have the chance to be a strong and influential voice within the communications industry generally.

I believe there is a real opportunity to bring closer working relationships between forces, sharing information and experience and providing advice to each other. APComm has the chance to influence this. Consistency to how comms issues are handled has to get better and by working closely with the ACPO lead for media we can influence how that is done. Through activities such as the logging workshop which we organised last year I believe forces can share, learn and bring uniformed approaches to difficult issues.

I would also want the conference to remain a focus for the year putting in the time and effort to make it the varied and valuable event enjoyed over the last two years.

There is also an opportunity to look at the training, retention and career opportunities – especially for junior staff. I would like APComm to lead the way in looking at how a job in police communications can be made as attractive as possible.