IPA Effectiveness Awards 2004: Silver Award - Hertfordshire Constabulary


Campaign: Police Officer Recruitment

Client: Hertfordshire Constabulary

Agency: Bernard Hodes Group

Principal authors: Helen Rosethorn, Bernard Hodes Group; Mark Rothman,

Bernard Hodes Group; John Wardle, Bernard Hodes Group; Cathy Reid,

Bernard Hodes Group; Martin Homent, Bernard Hodes Group

Media used: TV, interactive, direct marketing, print, cinema, press,

outdoor, radio, ambient


By the end of the 90s, police recruitment was a high-profile national issue. The Stephen Lawrence inquiry had put a very large dent in public confidence in the police and many were put off the idea of signing up.

The situation in Hertfordshire was even worse, and a combination of factors meant recruitment rates would have to be far higher than the national rate to resolve the problem in the county.

The national "I couldn't, could you?" campaign, created by M&C Saatchi, worked on the principle that there were enough people interested in the police, but that not enough of them were acting on their interest.

This approach wasn't enough for Hertfordshire, where 400 officers had to be recruited in three years, and where many talented candidates opted for the Met because of higher starting salaries.

Bernard Hodes Group was hired in 2000 after the constabulary's personnel services reviewed its recruitment marketing. It was decided that work needed to reflect the distinctiveness of policing Hertfordshire.

The campaign, based on local insight about the force, led to a spectacular turnaround, achieving levels and quality of recruitment above, the authors argue, what could be achieved by a national campaign. The county also saw a big improvement in crime detection.

The judges' view

This case demonstrated a superbly thoughtful approach, mining the local community in a new way to find candidates. The judges praised the paper for its use of integrated marketing to combat highly unfavourable local recruitment conditions. Local media was exploited to bring the creative idea to life and to present the police force as an intimate part of the community.


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