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Continuity and Change, Convergence and Divergence: The Policy and Practice of Police-Media Relations

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2002 Pages: 303-324
Ron C. Mawby
George Mair, Tim Newburn
Date Published
August 2002
22 pages
This article uses survey-based research to map out the current policy and practice of police-media relations to identify whether democratically accountable policing will result from the predicted use of specialist civilian communicators by the police.
The fact that effective communications by police via the media are required throughout police ranks, grades, and across police roles, and most especially on the staff of police force press offices is discussed in this article. The author addresses the trends towards civilianization and professionalization of police press office staff, greater organization, and strategic planning. This has the potential for selective communication, bringing about a managed appearance of effectiveness in order to promote the reputations of police and limit the damage to police organizations. It is hoped that a plan to build media relations into policing as a part of the process of meaningful communication with stakeholders and the public, instead, will be implemented. Its hoped, this will accomplish the support of accountable policing along with the conduct of media relations. In conclusion, it is anticipated that future development of the practice and policy of police-media relations will serve not only the organizational needs of the police but also the wider public interest.


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