Review slams government plans for police magazine

Marchant: “what is the point?”

Plans for a Home Office-produced tabloid magazine for police officers, rumoured to be similar in style to FHM or Heat , have been criticised by Jane’s Police Review .

Catriona Marchant, editor of the independent police weekly, said the Home Office’s Sharp End magazine, which is currently in development, would never be taken seriously by officers and would give a “rosy view” of life in the force.

The magazine is being contracted out to Square One Group and is intended to explain police reforms to officers.

Marchant said: “Police officers will know that it is likely to be a magazine full of success stories without the reality check from the officers on the ground and those working at more senior levels.

“Police Review is in the enviable position of being able to tell it how it really is to its readers.

“In a recent editorial commenting on the launch of the Government’s second reform of the police service within three years, we could describe the Home Office’s ten commitments to the police as ‘trite waffle’.

“If the Home Office is dissatisfied with the way its messages are criticised through policing publications such as Police Review , perhaps it needs to reflect why it is not answering the needs of police officers rather than launching an expensive PR magazine.

“A glossy publication giving its community a rosy view of the policing world will not be taken seriously – so what is the point of it?” The magazine is expected to be produced six-weekly and a trial version will be sent to every police station in England and Wales.

A Home Office spokeswoman said she could not give details of the magazine’s style or content, but it is believed it could contain quizzes and cartoons.

She said: “Every major company or service that deals with the public ensures staff on the frontline have clear information. It is common practice.

“The Government has brought in many necessary reforms that are changing the way the police work, from dealing with anti-social behaviour to finding new ways to engage with the communities they serve.

“The Sharp End magazine has researched well among uniformed, civilian and Community Support Officer staff.”

She added that the magazine was not intended to sidestep information from Chief Constables but would complement it by putting developments into a broader context and sharing best practice across the forces.

By Alyson Fixter

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