Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies
A campaign that’s far from uniform.
In the UK, modern crime is becoming more complex. Crimes such as domestic abuse and child abuse, cybercrime, identity theft, and serious and organised crime are ever more sophisticated, meaning policing needs new tactics and capabilities to meet these evolving threats in order to keep communities and individuals safe.
Recognising this, in late 2019 the UK Government published an initiative to uplift police officer numbers by 20,000 across the country. As a result, a reform programme was launched with forces given the remit to attract and develop a workforce with new skills and knowledge in order to tackle future challenges. These reforms also aim to provide the public with policing that is aligned and better integrated with other local public services.
‘Yes Police’ is the campaign we’ve created for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies as their response to this recruitment drive across our region.
Our first task was to plan and facilitate five focus groups designed to gain a deeper understanding of the public’s perception of modern policing, their thoughts about joining a constabulary and identify any barriers that may exist. Insights from this research proved valuable, informing and ultimately strengthening our campaign thinking.
An important consideration in landing the creative idea was that it should easily address specific recruitment targets in the audience. To achieve this, we created personas; invented characters who fit each audience segment in age, ethnicity, qualifications and work/life experience. This gave us the ability to ensure the campaign could look consistent whilst being relevant and engaging to specific target groups.
We also had to deliver the campaign to the forces’ comms teams so they could create and build outputs themselves on a day-to-day basis. To embed this, we wrote and published a campaign production guide which we delivered through a briefing and Q&A session with both internal teams.
The campaign had a soft launch in February 2021, with consistent executions demarcated in each of the force brand colours. Exposure was focussed online and on social. Other channels are scheduled to come on stream later this year when audiences are able to return to outdoor environments and pre-planned physical events such as graduate and recruitment fairs.
One key creative tactic we sold the client was for the campaign to clearly identify with the potential recruit – not the resulting police officer. We purposefully avoided the default ‘police blue’ and made sure there was not a single uniform in sight. This was a major departure, not only for a Norfolk and Suffolk campaign but for a police recruitment campaign in general.
And it was a shrewd move. Soon after our campaign broke a force elsewhere in the country was heavily criticised in the media for using actors to portray police officers in their recruitment drive. As always, in any advertising, strong ideas are the ones that are believable and simply communicated.