The vast majority of officers who took part in a poll during a conference session on trial by media want to see forces proactively sharing body-worn video footage, where legally possible to do so, as a means of setting the record straight when footage of incidents has been shared on social media.
A total of 93 per cent of delegates supported such a move.
The session, which opened Day 2 of conference, featured a panel made up of national Federation chair John Apter, popular TV judge and barrister Robert Rinder and the BBC’s former home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw.
Robert Rinder called for forces and the Federation to ensure they led an ‘effective, meaningful and creative’ media response, sharing good news stories to help counter the negative coverage now seen in the changing media landscape. They had, he said, the power to influence the conversation on social media.
But he also stressed that he felt the majority of the public were supportive of police officers.
Danny Shaw, while stressing the important difference between PR and news, also called on police forces and the Federation to have longer term conversations with editors and journalists to help develop a better understanding of the realities of policing.
The national chair pointed out that the negative headlines and media coverage had a damaging impact not just on the officers involved and their families but also the reputation of the police service.
He said forces needed to be braver in putting out body-worn video to counter unbalanced footage and said it was incumbent on Federation branches to speak to chief officers about this since a National Police Chiefs’ Council policy was in place.