I have been listening today to a whole range of case studies, presentations and workshops about police communication. The content was interesting and thought-provoking, as it always is given the subject matter that we deal with. However, there was another thought that kept popping into my head and that was more about the pressure and risks for those who are involved in police communication.
In speaking to many heads of communications teams in the past 30 hours it reminded me that although it is one of the most exciting and interesting jobs it comes at a price. That price is the impact on your personal life, and the fact that you are almost permanently on call if anything significant happens. But also, it can be a lonely place for the person leading the communication team and advising senior officers.
It is why we all need a helping hand both professionally and personally. For many it comes in the shape of a supportive line manager who is willing to provide that shoulder and also to check your welfare when things get too much. For others it is about ensuring that you have a network of support that you can call upon whether from colleagues in other forces, other communicators, friends and of course family.
We often recognise the importance that family support has on police officers, and it is understandable given the sacrifice they make. But I also think we need to say a thank you to the families and loved ones of those working in police communication for all the times when they are called away from family events, can’t go to functions or end up working late to ensure the job gets done.
If the last few days have taught me anything, it is that we do a fantastic job but we can only be truly effective if we have that support network in place. So, to all those people who provide me with support to ensure I can do the job I love (and you know who you are) I thank you.