She’s beautiful, she’s clever, she’s a warrior for Truth – of course she must be . . . a press officer.
But anyone thinking of applying for a job in a police press office might like to watch Channel 4’s satirical cop thriller Babylon before mailing the application.
When PR guru Liz Garvey becomes head of PR at Scotland Yard she enters a snakepit of half-truths and manipulation bringing her own simple mantra: honesty and transparency.
Cue hysterical laughter from crime reporters and indeed police press officers everywhere who would be happy to point out to the lovely Liz (played by Brit Marling) that this will never work.
As the show makes clear, external communications for the police are clouded with many difficult issues such as establishing the truth in a fast-moving situation and taking care not to endanger officers or alarm the public unnecessarily. Sometimes transparency reveals a picture of chaos and panic.
Add hostile journalists, malevolent press office assistants, loutish constables and above all citizen journalists (ie anyone with a smartphone camera and a Twitter account) and you have an inflammable atmosphere entered only by the brave and the foolhardy.
Of course it helps that she is being paid £250,000 a year – at which point cue more hysterical laughter.
The pilot show went out last night. Babylon returns as a series later in the year. I can’t wait.
– GARETH WEEKES, DEEP SOUTH MEDIA.