Sunday, April 10, 2011

ZenTiger Police Action

The police seem to be in the news and making the news at the moment. Firstly, a surprising arrest in the Scott Guy case. No real information on what evidence they are basing the arrest on, and huge downsides if they prove to be mistaken. I don't know what to think, other than the obvious - this is going to be really hard on the Guy family and the family of the accused.  (The accused is the brother-in-law of Scott Guy.)

And in the Sunday Star Times today, a poor piece of spin control on the "Cougar" advertisement that was sensibly pulled a while ago, after being not so sensibly shown in the first place. It was an appalling advertisement, and the "article" today followed up with the same level of epic fail.

The first mistake was to use the "ends justifies the means" excuse, claiming that the advertising campaign was wildly successful because the Police website got lots of hits.

Here's a clue for you Inspector Clouseau - Website hits don't necessarily mean that you are going to get more recruits, and with advertisements like that, it doesn't mean the recruits are automatically suitable material. The website hits probably went up because the Police were getting a lot of flak for their insensitivity, and people were checking out the adverts themselves to make sure this wasn't some sort of exaggeration. It wasn't.

The second mistake was to try to use the argument that acting crass and suggesting the police are immoral as others to be a successful strategy. "We like them young" (chauvinistic) "Get paid more than your dad" (bribery) and "We endorse queue cutting" (cheating) was supposedly designed to "correct some strong myths held by young people regarding police recruitment".

Currently, the "myth" they need to combat is that the police are not sexist, bullying, and cheating.  These adverts seem to reflect a culture they say isn't there.  It also makes the Police appear desperate to lure anyone into the job of any calibre (or any voltage, perhaps?).

These advertisements simply reinforce the stereotype, so are not for a moment anywhere near approaching the aim of attracting "intelligent, balanced, non-judgemental young people using a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour".  Do they not have bullshit detectors in the force?  My one is going off like a siren on a Friday night. 
Writing spin pieces like this that just don't hold up to a moments critical analysis is dragging the Police down. All of the (I hope) good detective work on the Scott Guy case may suffer for it.  Looks like they still have a bit more work to do before they crack the case.

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