The Communications team are responsible for both internal and external corporate communications and are based both from our Headquarters in Bridgend and in Press Offices across the force area. The Communications department also includes our Media team who develop and produce films, designs, animations and take photographs.
If I worked in this department, what could my working day look like?
The digital team is the first port of call for everything related to digital design, visual media, social media, and the force website. As such, our days are driven by events and demand, and – while it is admittedly a cliché – no two days are the same.
While we are often office or home-based, the nature of our work also means we are frequently out and about, meeting people throughout the force whose stories we want to tell, with whom we are working on a project to share crime prevention advice, or at whose event we are taking photos, videos, and other social media content.
On typical office-based day, we would initially spend time plotting out our social media content for the day, and the week ahead. We want to ensure it’s a mix of court stories, crime prevention advice, updates on operations, good news, and public engagement, as well as glimpses behind the scenes to show how policing works and what makes colleagues tick. We have a comprehensive strategy for our approach on the various social media platforms, and once this is mapped out for the day we continue to look for further content, while posting those bits already planned – also factoring in the need to ensure that everything, from Facebook posts to video subtitles – are in both English and Welsh.
Of course, the nature of our work means we also have to be reactive. This could be to ensure we jump on the latest social media trend, to reconsider our plans in the wake of a breaking news story, or to manage and deal with crisis communications, a big proportion of which these days first manifest themselves on social media.
On a typical day – following the mapping out of social and other communications plans, along with team catch ups so we all know what is coming up and who is covering it – we might be at mid-morning. As well as posting on social media, we aim for our channels to be for two-way conversations, and so we deal with every single Facebook comment or tweet (‘X’ post) via our social media management platform, dipping into the inbox throughout the day to monitor the tone of conversations, to reply where appropriate – if needs be, to defend the organisation, provide more context or explanation in order to nip rumours in the bud, or as an opportunity for more positive engagement. Timely, robust responses and replies are a must, and so we keep a close eye on the inbox throughout the day.
We are also keen to sprinkle in a bit of humour or even sass, again where appropriate, both to emphasise to the public that the organisation is made up of real people doing good jobs, as well as to show staff that we have their backs.
Being ‘digital gatekeepers’ for the department, we also take time to analyse how our output has been received, what has done well and what perhaps needs improving. Again, we will use our social media management platform, as well as digital platforms natively, to keep track of the stats, but also our own intuition and gut feeling. Likewise, we are first port of call for work on our website, such as keeping the look and feel fresh, making updates, and dealing with some of the technical issues that may affect it, from broken links to inaccessible PDFs to spelling mistakes.
While our role is as ‘digital gatekeepers’, it is important that we liaise with other teams within the Communications department to ensure our work complements each other. For instance, our digital design and visual media colleagues provide those eye-catching comms assets which might help to bring to life some crime prevention advice or to show how the latest officers’ passing-out parade has gone.
Likewise, sentencing stories in court often take place in the afternoon, and while this is something that would usually be led on by the press team, we are on hand to ensure that it is dealt with on social media in the appropriate way. That includes technical issues (e.g. the mechanics of posting things such as videos, or turning comments off), moderation issues (continuing to monitor comments and other social media reactions), and engagement opportunities (how best to ‘sell’ the story, to reach the widest audience possible and engage with our online audiences in the most appropriate way).
While a typical day would be approximately 9am to 5pm, we do have flexibility in case there are events outside of those times which we want to cover. But even if it is a day with regular hours, if you’re the on-call digital cover, your day is not over yet. Working alongside the on-call press officer, the digital on-call comms officer will continue to monitor the social media inbox for our Facebook, X/Twitter, Instagram and TikTok accounts – again to ensure proper moderation, to flag any issues that first crop up on social media that we need to be on top of, and to take the opportunity to engage positively with such opportunities as may present themselves out of hours.
That shift typically finishes at about 9pm, at which time – barring any significant events which can always occur, given the nature of policing – your day is over... before it all starts again at 7am the next day for whoever is next on the shift for digital on call, before they are again joined by their colleagues by about 9am for another busy day ahead.
As like our colleagues in the Digital Team, each day is different as part of the News team. We are responsible primarily for answering media enquiries, which can come thick and fast from local and national media outlets. We also act as operational support for officers looking to appeal for information for serious incidents, whether it be a road traffic collision, an assault, or an appeal for a wanted or a missing person. With the power of social media dramatically helping with getting information from the public to aide the investigations, means we get frequent requests from officers to post an appeal. We are often first port of call due to the effectiveness of our appeals and our large social media following across all channels.
We also publish proactive positive court sentencing stories to help increase public confidence in policing which has been an issue in recent years. Publishing these stories also shows the vast array of cases our officers deal with, highlighting different departments and investigative teams. This is our chance to show the positive work of South Wales Police and highlighting the good news stories and convictions of criminals can be one of the most rewarding parts of the role.
Our main demand however, as mentioned, is responding to media enquiries. Whether it's commenting on an ongoing live incident, requests to film our officers, or interview bids, the media can be quite demanding when asking for any of these requests. This comes into much larger focus when the force is at the centre of a major incident that has national media coverage. The demand to provide timely, accurate and concise updates to the media can be challenging but it is a vital task to help moulding the coverage. The demands of 24-hour media and the rumour mill and instant reaction of the social media world has significantly increased the importance of our role. This is also why we provide 24 hours on call duties through the evenings and the weekends to respond to any major or urgent incident.
A typical day therefore involves, preparing/publishing court stories, monitoring media/social media coverage, responding to media enquiries and helping operationally with force wide appeals.
The role of the Internal Communications Team is to effectively share information with police officers, staff and volunteers so they understand the mission, vision and values of the organisation, along with the current priorities, and can perform their jobs well and we to foster a positive culture.
By the nature of working for an emergency service we can be called on to produce reactive content at short notice, however for the most part our internal communication is proactive and covers a wide range of topics from operational updates to organisational change to wellbeing support for colleagues.
The role of an internal communications officer is varied, and no two days are the same. The work of the team is fluid, and we regularly help and support one another out with projects or pieces of work.
We publish and monitor content via a number of communication channels within the internal team including our force intranet ‘BOB’, force wide email communication, our private Team SWP Facebook page, digital screens and the more traditional quarterly magazine ‘Billboard’.
Key to the role is developing engaging content so as well as writing articles we can also be drafting scripts for chief officers, filming short pieces to camera, and editing footage, and producing simple graphics and animations.
In addition to individual workload, each member of the team takes it in turn to monitor the communications email inbox. This role known as the ‘duty officer’ is a core part of the team’s remit and is monitored and actioned daily between 9-5.
The expectation of the ‘Duty Officer’ is to accept and retain ownership of anything which lands in the inbox. Some emails can be dealt with very quickly, while others may be a request for comms assistance with a large project, which could mean involvement for a prolonged period of time.
Other responsibilities include maintaining and monitoring our Intranet ‘BOB’, which can vary from publishing articles/announcements, approving classified adverts, moderating comments from colleagues and dealing with general issues users may experience on the platform.
In addition to the daily tasks, the team contribute ‘Weekly Orders’, a force wide email which is collated and published directly by the team each Wednesday and includes a digest of the most important and critical updates from the force over the past seven days.
The team also oversee the private Facebook group for ‘Team SWP, which is a more informal communication platform. This entails managing the membership of the group and monitoring posts along with publishing content. Plus, we manage the content on a number of digital screens located in prime locations across our estate. These are a very powerful visual tool which are often utilised to share key messages. We may also, on occasion, employ use more traditional methods of communication such as posters in prime locations.
We also support departments such as Corporate Services and national bodies to gain feedback and insights from our workforce, assisting with engagement activity such as surveys and polls, and have a role in supporting a wide range of events hosted or supported by SWP.
In addition, to publishing on our communication channels it is also our responsibility to maintain and develop these channels. The role is varied, at times demanding but always exciting.
Our force’s Heritage Centre has a small but multi-functional team with a wide-ranging output that covers internal and website communications, digital communications and content creation, research, collections management, and of course, community engagement.
The team are rarely home-based and are never too far away from the Heritage Centre, which is located at Police HQ in Bridgend. If they are not engaging with communities in the Centre or working with colleagues in the Communications office, they are almost certainly somewhere on the HQ estate, meeting colleagues from other departments whom they work with on various projects or ongoing workstreams they are involved in. Given the nature of their work, team members can also be found at research centres like Glamorgan or West Glamorgan Archives in Cardiff and Swansea.
As cliché as it sounds(!), no two days are the same for our Heritage team. On the average day and when possible, team members communicate to discuss upcoming visits to the Heritage Centre and ongoing projects and workstreams which help them to project the force’s heritage to colleagues, communities, or both. Depending on the project at hand team members might be preparing content for internal audiences, social media or contributing valuable primary research and material towards campaigns or projects which have historical touchpoints. Whilst preparing content, it’s essential that our team consults with colleagues from different functions within the Communications department. With them we are able proof our material and schedule content in accordance with departmental calendars.
On a typical working day, the team’s shared inbox is fed with requests to visit the Heritage Centre from colleagues, communities, schools, youth groups and adult learning groups to name a few. Depending on who is visiting – and after making the necessary arrangements for who will be facilitating - the team prepare the Centre appropriately. For instance, if they are due to host a school group, they will prepare several hands-on engagements and forensic fun activities to make the experience as fun and participatory as possible. On the other hand, if they are due to welcome a local history group, then they tailor the visit around their needs, offering an historical talk along with the usual guided tour of the Heritage Centre. The team offers two visitors’ slots to the Heritage Centre every day at 10am and 2pm, five days a week. Visits usually take around 90 minutes – though these hours may vary depending on the group.
On the other side of the coin and still within the typical working day, team members are also frequently involved in projects with other departments across the force and even with forces across the country. In being the gatekeepers of the force’s history, the team often works with other departments to undertake research and contribute information and material towards awareness campaigns. For instance, their ongoing workstream with the EDI Team includes to the building of a timeline focussing on race within policing. Within this workstream the team are currently researching and writing the content within the timeline and liaising with EDI team members on the timeline’s touch points. Another example comes from their involvement as force representatives within the NPCC Portfolio for Heritage. Within this working group, team members are currently providing information, statistics and case studies which illustrate the outreach of Heritage from the perspective of South Wales Police. This information is currently being fed back to the Portfolio leaders to consider as part of a Chief’s Council paper about the impact of police heritage on a national scale.
The working day for the team usually finishes at around 5pm – though this can sometimes be flexible as and when team members are hosting visitors to the Heritage Centre or when they attend events and open days across our force area.
Not found what you are looking for? If you are interested in future opportunities within this department please register your details on our talent bank and we can update you when we have vacancies that suit your skills and preferences: click here to register.