Peter Steward's Web Site
A Day In My Working Life
The following is a description of a day in the life of Norfolk
Constabulary's Press Office also entitled
HOW TO MAXIMISE PUBLICITY OPPORTUNITIES
Wednesday 18th June, 1998, was an extremely busy but fairly typical day in the Force Press Office.
It was a perfect illustration, however, of the way pro-active and re-active Press work can mould together to provide the public with an excellent overview of the good work of the Force.
The essence of the day was the close working together of Press Office staff and officers throughout the Force to maximise publicity opportunities.
The result was four major television pieces, numerous radio interviews and considerable pro-police coverage in the written press.
It was a long day for the Press office - beginning at shortly after 8 a.m and finishing at about 9 p.m. The office was manned from 8 a.m until 5.30 p.m and during that time responded to almost 100 telephone calls from the Media.
Many of these calls came as a result of written press releases sent out by the Press Office.
The morning started with a trawl through the events from overnight and this resulted in details being sent to the Press regarding an armed robbery at a Great Yarmouth Building Society, a hit and run collision at Swafield, horses on the loose at Terrington St Clements and a drink-driver being stopped for being almost five times over the limit in Thorpe Market.
Press releases on all four subjects were sent out and interviews on all four were undertaken for local radio stations.
During the day the Great Yarmouth Building Society robbery became particularly important to us from a pro-active stance. Detective Constable Michael Roxby was off duty in the building society when a man armed with a knife and a sawn off shotgun attempted to rob it. DC Roxby bravely tackled the man who was eventually arrested.
The attacker turned out to be the same man who robbed the building society of over £3,000 two weeks previously. He was also wanted for attempted murder in Northamptonshire. Damon Fay subsequently appeared before Great Yarmouth magistrates and was remanded in custody.
During the day we set up Media opportunities on this story for Anglia and BBC Television, numerous local radio stations and the written press. In culminated in major coverage on BBC News, a large piece on Anglia news and interest from national press agencies.
BBC Television had camera shots of DC Roxby at work in Great Yarmouth and an interview with a senior officer outside Great Yarmouth Police Station.
The second piece on television was in a lighter vein and featured management services from Headquarters who decided to take the green way into work to mark WorkWise week. They used a variety of environmentally free options to get to work including roller blades, canoes, tandems and a surf bike. BBC Television turned up to film this and the Press ran a major item on page two of the Eastern Evening News. This good humoured type of story shows police officers as human beings.
The main item dealt with on the previous day was the troubles and problems in the county and mainly Norwich and Great Yarmouth following England’s World Cup match against Tunisia.
From 3 p.m until 11 p.m the central control room had initiated 68 call outs to "football related" incidents. We went heavy on the publicity for this, telling the Media that we would be providing high profile policing for subsequent England matches. The Press particularly highlighted one "hooligan" who had "danced on" and damaged cars in the centre of Norwich. He was arrested and we were able to give the Press the tip off regarding his court appearance.
I believe that continued high profile work by us in the Media helped to
sway magistrates to consider a custodial sentence on this man. A national
Press Agency again took up this story. This all helped to show our
determination to cut out this sort of occurrence and to show what the
consequences can be for those arrested. In many ways we used this young
man as an example.
The day continued with promotional work on a Crimestoppers reception to mark the 10th anniversary of Crimestoppers’ Trust and 15 years since the initiative was started in Norfolk. The reception was held in the evening at the premises of Anglia Television.
Our aim in this was to achieve maximum publicity whilst emphasising that Crimestoppers was a Norfolk initiative started in Great Yarmouth following a visit to Chicago by two Norfolk detectives - Mick Cole and Peter Howse (now both retired).
Anglia television were planning a major piece for their evening news. This involved the press office setting up interviews for them with Mick Cole and also giving them general information on Crimestoppers. It culminated in a major piece on Anglia Television featuring a highlighted Norfolk crime which had been solved thanks to Crimestoppers, an interview with Mick Cole and a live studio interview with Norfolk’s Chief Constable Ken Williams.
The evening reception also received good coverage in the Eastern Daily
"City Dunblane Threats Claim."
This revolved around a Norwich man - Clive Hill. A warrant for his arrest was issued by a court in Stirling, Scotland after he had made threatening calls to Dunblane two years ago. The threats supported the actions of killer Thomas Hamilton and said that Hill was going to Dunblane to finish what Hamilton started.
The local paper suggested with its headline that Norwich children were in imminent danger. We had to re-assure people through the Media that the threats were to Dunblane.
Hill was subsequently arrested in Norwich. We were able to inform the
Media of this and as a result allay local fears by telling members of
public that he was safely in custody and on his way to answer to the
Police Dog Storm has been retired because of a problem with his jaw which means he can no longer bite.
This is the kind of information we immediately knew would be “jumped on” by the Media and so it turned out. We organised a photographic opportunity for Storm with Sgt Don Gyton of the Dog Squad at his new home in Marlingford. This gained television, radio and press coverage and also the interest once again of national press agencies.
We used the opportunity to appeal for more German Shepherd to be
trained as police dogs.
In the afternoon members of the originally named Church of the Holy and
Sacred Herb decided to smoke cannabis in the cloisters at Norwich
Cathedral. Four of them were arrested and again we released details of
this fact to the Press.
During the day we also sent out Press Releases on a spate of thefts from and the sinking of a boat on the Broads, the identification of a body found on the beach at Great Yarmouth over the weekend, the results of two teams from Norfolk Constabulary appearing in a national lifesaving competition, stolen car wheels from Norwich, an appeal for the return of sentimental property stolen from a Norwich widow and various queries following the previous day’s police authority meeting.
On a national matter, we also sent out a Press Release on behalf of the Chief Constable regarding a speech he would be giving the next day at a London seminar on the subject of an Integrated Transport Policy. This was done in his role as vice chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers' traffic committee.
At the end of the afternoon the Press Office undertook a weekly information slot on Radio Norfolk for the Roy Waller show and then attended the evening Crimestoppers reception to help reporters get the most from the event.