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Victoria Police provides policing services to the Victorian community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, working to keep over 5.9 million Victorians safe. Victoria Police consists of more than 20,000 employees, including 15,000 police officers.

Business Need and Communication Opportunity

In December 2016 the Victorian Government’s (Australia) Community Safety Statement (CSS) was launched and outlined a plan to keep Victorians safer. This included a $2 billion investment to strengthen the capacity of Victoria Police to reduce crime, in part by recruiting 2,729 Police Officers and PSOs between 2017 and 2021 in addition to the 406 previously announced for a total of 3,135 new recruits. Recruitment of this scale is unprecedented with this change representing the greatest boost to policing numbers in 163 years. These changes will bring a 20 per cent increase in the size of Victoria Police over four years by 2021. It had been nearly seven years since Victoria last mounted a significant advertising campaign to recruit more police.

The employment and deployment of the additional 3,135 Police Officers and Protective Services Officers (PSOs) is closely linked to the Victoria Police Capability Plan 2016-2025, which sets out a decade long framework to guide the transformation of service delivery to meet the needs of the Victorian community within the context of an ever changing environment. One of the focus areas of the plan is to build a workforce that is appropriately skilled and as diverse as our community – identifying the need for the delivery of a carefully targeted recruitment campaign to attract and recruit more diverse applicants to Victoria Police.

During a non-campaign period weekly police applications average significantly lower than during a campaign period. For our proactive recruitment advertising campaign, Be a Force for Good, we estimated that the weekly average of applications needed to be raised by a certain percentage in order to deliver an additional 3,135 officers over four years. Therefore a compelling broadcast, digital, print and outdoor recruitment campaign was critical to meet the government’s commitment and in pursuing community safety.

The target audience was defined based on the organisation’s gender squad targets and existing diversity targets set by Victoria Police. There was also a need to ensure diversity across the organisation to help ensure it was representative of the community it served, including Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI).

Communication Objective

The overarching goal of the campaign was to increase the overall number of applications, while maintaining quality, for roles with Victoria Police and PSOs.

The objectives of the campaign were to:

  • Boost the number of applications to assist Victoria Police to recruit an additional 3,135 over four years.
  • Improve target audience perceptions about a career with Victoria Police or as a PSO.
  • Improve community perceptions that Victoria Police is committed to cultural change and welcomes diversity to help meet new challenges.
  • Recruit people with the skills to help make Victoria a safer place to live in.
  • Increase the number of applicants from diverse backgrounds.

The Communication Solution

A state wide advertising campaign included:

  • 2 x 30 and 1 x 15 second TV advertisements to create broad community awareness of the fact Victoria Police were recruiting more police officers and PSOs.
  • A significant digital campaign – supported by a number of videos to provide the flexibility to showcase role attributes and the variety of work a career with Victoria Police provides. Assets were published across Facebook, online banners and online videos across YouTube and digital advertising to drive target audience awareness and click throughs to Victoria Police’s careers website.
  • Advertising press in leading metro, suburban and regional newspapers, including CALD newspapers, to promote PSO and Victoria Police roles and proactive media stories to encourage applications.
  • Out of home advertisements in the Melbourne CBD (tram/bus/train interiors) to promote PSO and Victoria Police roles.
  • Radio advertisements with a leading radio network, reaching listeners across metro and regional markets, as well as CALD stations – for awareness.
  • Broadcast and digital advertising was supported with media buy amplification. To boost the campaign’s reach and impact, we secured partnerships with different television shows on major networks in Melbourne, including spots in 13 of the top 20 programs being shown on metro television, with regional TV buy delivering placement on 14 of the top 20 rating shows.

Key Messages

  • Victoria Police is recruiting to increase police and PSO numbers to help make Victoria safer.
  • We offer a rewarding and worthwhile career, with plenty of variety and opportunities for advancement.
  • You can make a contribution to helping make Victoria a better place to live.
  • We want to employ more women in policing to help make us better at what we do.
  • Working with Victoria Police opens the door to multiple career opportunities.
  • Our selection process is rigorous to make sure we have the right people, and to make sure you have the training and confidence in your abilities to make a difference.

Creative Approach

The TV, press, digital and out of home advertisements were focus group tested with the help of a communications agency and refined to ensure that the advertising creative resonated with our target audience. Focus group results found the overall tone and manner was appropriate, balanced boldness and strength with the softer messages of the achievements of the role. The campaign line Be a Force for Good was seen as relevant and appealing.

The Result

During the period covered by the recruitment campaign, a significant number of applicants applied for roles as police officers or PSOs. The campaign delivered over a 100 per cent increase in application numbers for police officers and PSO roles when compared to applications during a non-campaign timeframe. The campaign also improved community perceptions about a career with Victoria Police; that Victoria Police is committed to cultural change and welcomes diversity to meet new challenges; and Victoria Police is recruiting people with the skills to help make Victoria a safer place to live.