Political and police communications requires strategic horizon scanning and an astute sense of the mood of the public, in order to build reputations, but also to divert and manage crises.
Wessex Media Group (WMG) has been using some of these skills to support the Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr Timothy Harris and the government of St Kitts, as well as The Royal St Kitts and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) in their drive to reduce crime and increase public confidence.
WMG has developed the Communications Strategy for the RSCNPF, as well as a set of Media Guidelines which enables the police to engage more effectively with the public in partnership with media partners. Work with the government, and the police, has established the important role that the media plays in supporting cultural change and in creating inspiring, and aspiring behaviours, as opposed to undertaking destructive crime.
The media can also either support effective crime detection, or inadvertently undermine it by revealing information that harms an investigation. This is why it is essential to have a protocol and code of ethics that guides how both the police and the media can effectively work together. The UK knows this only too well following the case of Milly Dowler.
When it comes to political communications, there is a tension between keeping the public informed and preventing a perception that the announcement of good news is simply a cynical measure undertaken in order to achieve re-election. Authenticity and objectivity therefore are key.
WMG has extensive experience of community engagement in the UK with hard to reach communities. They have been able to achieve high intervention rates, and this experience has helped them to shape the PM’s speeches with the focus on community at its heart. The key messages align with his real desire to create a more harmonious nation. Connecting in a meaningful way with all stakeholders in the communities we serve, provides the bedrock for behavioural change and communications is at the heart of this. It needs to be sustained and it needs to be consistent.