Monday, 8 September 2008

Get better ads, please

The NZ Police's 'Get better work stories' recruitment ads have been annoying me for some time now. I don't like the idea that anyone might be motivated to join the Police by the thought of having more racy anecdotes to tell their buddies. This seems downright immature to me - the antithesis of the professionalism and ethical conduct we should expect from the Police. I for one wouldn't want to report a sexual assault to the Police knowing I might become the source of a tale told at the pub after work.

But it was the ad I saw a couple of nights ago that really pushed me over the edge. It features a woman Police officer briefing a room full of her colleagues, who are apparently about to begin searching for a missing child. As she's giving instructions, the camera moves to a child who has appeared at the back of the room. The child puts up his hand and asks if he can go to the toilet. The camera moves back to the policewoman, and we realise she is not a Police officer at all - merely a primary school teacher reading to a group of children seated around her. As she's been reading, the teacher has been fantasising about leaving her mundane job caring for and educating children, to do something worthwhile and interesting instead.



Hugh said...

I've always disliked those ads - even before they started denigrating other professions, they seemed to encourage people to join the police in the expectation that it'll be like some sort of heinous action movie.

It doesn't even address their problem. The reason the government can't get the police numbers they want isn't due to a lack of people joining up, it's because their retention rate is appalling.

Julie said...

Another thing that annoys me is that there is a recruitment (and retention) problem in teaching too - so now the police are actively trying to poach from other state sector occupational groups who have similar issues about staffing...

What might be more effective (although really, as with most of my blogging, I am largely talking out my arse) would be to try to appeal to groups of people who always wanted to be cops but thought they couldn't be for various reasons. Eg too short, not enough school quals etc. I know of a person in each of those 2 groups who belatedly discovered they could be in the police, have now trained and joined, and love their job despite the difficulties. They will probably be long-term cops, which is what is needed. And because they have a range of life experiences they are less likely to be unquestioning adopters of the negative aspects of police culture. I hope.