The problem as it stands, concerns the evaluation of the NSW police and the media. Thus far, no studies have evaluated how effective existing practices are, and in turn, what future actions need to be made to improve media relations and the overall public image of the NSW police. The following is a proposal for a study to research the effectiveness of the NSW police in regard to their media image. The focus of this study, will be toward determining those variables that can directly connect to improvements in outcomes or the establishment of a criteria of best practices for future media relations strategies.
In the area of policing and criminal justice, the media is unavoidable because it is the main source for the public regarding crime information [Mawby, p. 225]. Indeed, police departments such as that in NSW, have full guidelines clearly outlining the media relations functions of the police department. Further, they have full divisions committed to media and public relations who are available on a twenty-four hour basis [Lee, 2010, p 3]. The report in question [NSW Public Affairs, 2010], outlines a number of the core functions of the media relations department, but also presents some of the protocols and limitations of media relations. That is, it defines what can and can not be discussed with the media, such as identifying information or information, for example, that might jeopardize an ongoing investigation.
The police use the media on a number of different levels. First, and in the most general terms, media relations helps improve the public image of the police [Lee, 2010, p. 1] For some time, the police have had a challenging time presenting themselves to the public, and arguably, they are most often or consistently under media scrutiny under circumstances where their image is in question. Further, it can be said that for most of the public, there is a great deal of misinformation regarding the average police