The nomination process to select a new Chair and interim Vice Chair 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.
Claire Mills – Wiltshire Police
I’m Clare Mills, Head of Communications and Engagement for Wiltshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner.
This year has been a truly extraordinary one in Wiltshire. I believe it’s proved more than ever the enormous value of communications in policing. I was responsible for leading my team in the significant communications approach for the Salisbury poisonings, bringing together multiple partners to co-ordinate a local response to this global incident.
I had the great pleasure, alongside our Chief, of presenting at the APComm conference last month where I talked about the challenges we faced, and the learning we have taken from these incidents.
I’ve always believed passionately in the value we, as communications experts, bring to the delivery of policing and public safety. I am really keen we do all we can to share experiences so we can all benefit from the learning of the diverse range of incidents we are called upon to respond to.
So what do I think I would bring to the role? I’ve worked in police communications for 17 years, in three forces in various roles. I started out in Northamptonshire, then Bedfordshire, and in 2007 moved to Wiltshire.
In my current role I head up a team of 15 staff. I also manage media and comms for the PCC, which adds a really interesting dimension. I believe that my experience in working across three forces, alongside a genuine desire to work alongside other colleagues to further enhance the work of the association, would be of value to the committee.
Specifically, I have a real passion for developing our approach to engagement, internally and externally. The way we communicate has changed; people want information differently now – quicker, more transparent and more interactive. The challenge for us is to understand how we can have more of a conversation, firstly with the public about competing demands on our services, and secondly with our staff so we can understand what they need from us to help them do the very best job in often really challenging circumstances.
In addition, I’m really motivated towards developing talented communicators for the future and APComm has such a vital role to play. In particular, in looking ahead to the future challenges we face as police communicators so we can be ‘ahead of the curve’ and offer something to you that’s of value and makes a real difference to you in your role.
Jon Southgate – College of Policing
I currently work in the Media Relations team at the College of Policing, the professional body for police in England and Wales, joining in September 2017. Prior to that I spent 16 years at the Metropolitan Police, 14 of them working in media and communications. I also spent several years volunteering as a special constable.
At the Met I spent a decade working on the 24hr Press Bureau and have worked on many of the major incidents and investigations that where responded to in that time. Before that I led the press and publicity team supporting borough policing and specialist units in north and west London.
My vision is to grow the relationship between APComm and the College of Policing. Both bodies’ purposes are very similar, and I believe working collaboratively can only benefit communicators in their roles.
We have already begun to see this with the strengthening communicators’ involvement in police training, I want to work to continue this and explore similar opportunities.
I am interested in measuring the effectiveness of comms, and want to help support police communicators in the evaluation of their campaigns or comms activity, building evidence of what works to demonstrate how comms can contribute to keeping people safe and fighting crime.
I am also an advocate of continuing professional development (CPD). Not just for comms skills, but for other transferable skills such a management, leadership and wellbeing.
Whilst these are my areas of interest, I want to ensure that APComm continues to put members at the heart of what it provides. We use audience insight inform our strategies and day-to-day work, and it should be no different for engaging you and providing you with what you want from your association.
Emma Northcote – Dyfed Powys Police
I’m asking for a seat as Vice Chair because I want to make an enthusiastic contribution to the ever-evolving supportive circle we have in APCOMM.
I would love the opportunity to act on behalf of APCOMM and take our message more widely across my networks and beyond. Like so many of the members I’ve spoken to, I’m passionate about showing others outside of policing what makes our job different.
I’m also all about Wales, ‘Way over there’ forces, and Wellbeing (My WWW).
Wales: There’s no disguising that I’m very Welsh. In Wales, we work in a devolved space, but we’re not devolved. That brings some challenges. We also have two official languages. That’s also a tough one to grapple with… especially when we’re designing content and adopting national campaigns. I’d like to be a conscious voice for Wales at APCOMM – our language law is often an afterthought in the national picture and that can make our job more difficult than it needs to be.
‘Way-over-there’ forces: I lead the Corporate Communications team at Dyfed-Powys Police. We’re geographically huge, but serve one of the smallest populations in England and Wales. We don’t have some of the issues faced by the larger forces, but we have vulnerable communities and a service to deliver. Sometimes conversations in policing can be very urban centric and rural nuances are missed. I think it’s important that very rural forces use the seat we have at the table. I will continue to do this.
I’ve spoken this year about the impact burn-out has had on me. It’s not nice. Over the last 18 months, I’ve become a real advocate of unplugging, taking time out and asserting a work-life balance. Picking up from where we left off at Conference, I’d like to work as part of the APCOMM Committee to do more to safeguard our own wellbeing.
I’ve worked in policing for 17 years – 10 in police communications (South Wales Police and Dyfed-Powys Police), and 7 in Corporate Development (South Wales Police) working on consultation, research and strategic planning.
I have an MSc in Criminology & Criminal Justice and a BA (Hons) in PR and IT. I’m a committee member of PRCA Wales, a keen camper, wife and mother to two small children.
At the risk of coming over all ‘Apprentice’, I’m approachable, determined, committed and jolly! #voteem
Miriam Brown – Metropolitan Police
I am intensely passionate about policing and police communications. If I am successful in my application for Temporary Vice-Chair, I would like to help further develop and support the Association’s work around continual professional development and support for members.
In relation to my specific portfolio, I would be keen to work with colleagues around the country and facilitate some collective work on violent, drug and gang crime (and associated victim/offender cohort) and create a national working group to share best practice, resource and ideas.
I would like to create a National Induction Programme from those coming into police communications, or those who are young in service who feel they have knowledge gaps, particularly in relation to operational aspects of the business, to ensure they have a solid understanding of the world of policing.
I would also like to create/formalise national networks firstly for middle managers, deputies and supervisors, as there is currently provision for Heads of Department/Directors, but I feel there are further opportunities that could be developed for the management tier below; and secondly for the wider membership. I think it would be incredibly beneficial for individuals, teams and organisations/teams if we are able to access our professional peers around the country for support and to share best practice, learning and knowledge more easily. I think there would also be scope to share training opportunities and cost.
Having consulted with several of the membership, I would be particularly interested in further developing the Knowledge Hub on the APCOMM website as I believe it is currently an under-used resource. I would look to put together a team of SPOCs from across the country to help regularly update the content to include up-to-date training materials such as media law, advice around complex portfolios and to share better campaign materials.
I would also like to create a calendar of CPD opportunities such as shadowing or buddying days across different forces, and help facilitate regular sharing sessions such as monthly, lunchtime “Wisdom Wednesday Webchats” to provide efficient and effective ways of knowledge sharing without impacting resource.
I would be keen to help support the Committee in organising the existing networking and training events, ongoing work with Vuelio to further develop the platform specifically to support policing need and any opportunities to be more cohesive in our approach to the purchasing of software and training so we can best use our collective procurement powers.