Malawi Police publicists urged to join the country’s Public Relations Society

Malawi Police Service (MPS) publicists has been urged to tap from an unlimited body of information, resources and contacts in their endeavour to effectively communicate on security matters by joining Public Relations Society of Malawi (PRSM).

This was said by PRSM president, Benson Linje at the opening of the first of three regional public relations (PR) conference which have been co-organised by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and PRSM — under the theme ‘Policing in digital era.’

Subjects being discussed in the two-day conferences include PR trends & ethics, campaign planning, crisis and media management as well as how to write for PR and Linje said obviously many other aspects cannot be covered within such a short period — thus asking the MPS to join the PRSM.

Inspector General of Police Merlyne Yolamu

Present at the official opening was Inspector General of Police, Merlyne Yolamu, to whom Linje appealed to ensure the police PROs are members of PRSM to “benefit from regular capacity building sessions the society organises from time to time”.

From such sessions, Linje said, the PROs “can ask for ideas from their peers on how to go about various issues and challenges” — emphasizing that PRSM is “proud to partner MACRA in this important engagement with a unique constituency of PROs from Police”.

“You do a commendable job in managing external relations activities that cultivate mutually beneficial relationships, understanding and goodwill between Police and its various stakeholders.

Group photograph after the official launch

“The conference has been organised to familiarise the participants with some of MACRA’s operations as well as fundamentals of public relations practice so that participants are able to discharge their duties as PROs even better in this day and age when communication industry and models have undergone a massive transformation due to rapid technological changes.

“We believe that through this interface you can understand what PRSM is; the value of belonging to this biggest and only professional grouping of communicators from various sectors across the country; and that we can share some tips with you to be effective communicators.”

Linje expressed PRSM’s appreciation of the MOS management “for expanding the communication function to ensure that there are PROs across the country — ready to proactively and reactively disseminate information from the institution”.

“This is a commendable governance move that’s in line with the Access to Information obligation whereby members of the public and media colleagues can easily and timely obtain information from you.

“PR is a deliberate, planned and sustained effort to institute and maintain mutual understanding between the organization and its public and other stakeholders. It uses information to influence opinion for creating and maintaining goodwill.

“The discipline of public relations (PR) deals with shaping and maintaining the image and reputation of the organization in the eyes of its various stakeholders. PR and Corporate Communications should be at the centre of strategic image positioning of any given company — Police being no exception.”

The conferences have been organised in the surge of cybercrimes, which MACRA Director General, Daud Suleman said as technology is creating innovations in the consumption of digital goods, it has also brought with it innovative cybercrimes.

Thus he emphasized that it is very important that the law enforcers should be fully aware and prepared to handle cybercrimes to ensure “a safer and secure Malawi that boosts the confidence of the citizens whenever they touch a mobile phone as issues of mobile money fraud are on the rise”.

In her remarks, the IG said the Service had been contemplating on building capacity of its PROs but were challenged with resources and when she received MACRA’s proposing for the conferences, she “almost jumped in my chair with excitement — the workshops are timely”.

“As a service, we have huge knowledge-gaps among most of our officers, including these PRO, mainly owing to the changing environment we work in which requires that we consistently keep updating ourselves.

“As such, we have in-house trainings arranged now and again. However, they are mostly not enough as we have a huge workforce to train and sometimes resources are limited. This is why we are very thankful when stakeholders and partners as you, come forward to assist.

“I am confident that this training will change and improve the performance of our PROs which will in turn, add value to the service delivery of the entire Malawi Police Service.

“By organizing this training workshop, you have demonstrated that you are a true partner and you consider internal security of Malawi a priority.”

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