Documents/VPD/9: Communications

9: Communications

Enhance effectiveness of VPD services by engaging the public through improved external and internal communications

Other Information:

At the heart of all the Department’s external communications is the overriding belief that the public has an undeniable right to know what their police department is doing to keep them safe. In addition, the public is entitled to know whether the police are competent and trustworthy. The VPD believes strongly that public confidence rests on these values of open and transparent communications. Our primary communications objectives are informing the public about what we are doing to preserve their safety, and the steps we are taking to ensure our members embody the highest levels of service and integrity. A secondary objective involves the role of the VPD as an advocate for positive social change in the area of public safety. The VPD believes it has a responsibility to encourage key stakeholders to make progressive changes, and improve community safety for all citizens of Vancouver. The VPD will also continue to participate in community and cultural forums providing an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships with Vancouver’s diverse population. While the Department engages in open communications with the public, it is also crucial that we keep our members fully informed. All sworn and civilian members of the Department should be informed of our progress in achieving our goals around public safety and our efforts in going “Beyond the Call” to provide exceptional service. We should recognize and celebrate the achievements of our members. While internal and external audiences are occasionally surveyed for their opinions about our communications, it is difficult to produce quantifiable evidence of their effectiveness. When we use communications for crime prevention we can track changes in crime rates, but measurement of other public information campaigns is less clear. While the police can count the responses to the website, completion of questionnaires, or other contacts, these measurement tools don’t always give us definitive conclusions. Best practices measurement of communication effectiveness is accomplished by satisfaction surveys, which are base-lined before and after a fixed date; the VPD conducts such surveys every two years. The Department’s Public Affairs Unit is staffed with a team of trained and seasoned professionals employing cutting-edge communications and marketing strategies to ensure the public receives accurate information about policing issues. This expertise also ensures that the effectiveness of strategic crime-fighting communication techniques are maximized, and that our messaging is clear and well-defined. This vital communication enhances community partnerships which leads to collaborative ownership and solutions to community problems. MEASUREMENTS: * Surveys and feedback of citizens who have received police service, media and community programs * Number of community programs and participants, volunteers and others * Assessments by educators/community workers * Employee feedback surveys of internal communications * Number of communication awards earned by the VPD corporately or by VPD staff * The number of positive earned media stories * The number of internal communications and new tactics to effectively deliver them • The number of communication training sessions delivered to internal and external audiences • Additional resources obtained to increase effectiveness of staff and production of communication collateral while reducing costs • Number of public forums, speeches and collateral designed to influence positive social change