This may be old news to some, but I think I’ve found the most senior blogger in the UK public sector – and it’s the Chief Constable of North Wales Police, Richard Brunstrom. With his deputy and assistant also chipping in, they must surely come a close second and third.
Brunstrom is what you might call a ‘character’, with outspoken views on drugs and traffic – the latter earning him the nickname ‘Mad Mullah of the Traffic Taliban’ from The Sun, a title which he actually seems to enjoy. He became a druid of the Welsh National Eisteddfod earlier this summer, earning himself a fetching white bardic robe, and has been praised by the Welsh national poet for his support of the Welsh language (since he’s actually English). And as of July 2006, he’s been a blogger.
In his first posting, dated 17 July, he wrote:
Always keen to innovate and to make full use of modern communications, I have decided to become the UK’s first blogging Chief Constable, starting today. I’ve no idea whether this will work, or how long I’ll keep it going – I suspect that rather depends on you, the readers. If it hits the spot then I’ll keep it up; if not it’ll get ditched like most of my ‘good ideas’. You can’t get to me directly from my Blog – but you can let me know what you think via our website ( www.north-wales.police.uk ) by clicking on the Contact Us link . I look forward to your views; hopefully at least some of them will be repeatable, but who knows? We’re going to get into podcasting too.
To his credit, he’s still plugging away, two months later… and even more surprising, it’s a very good example of the blog as corporate communication tool. His latest post is about a recent exercise to check on lorries on the A55 to Holyhead port, and he’s quite happy to provide the ugly numbers – with 91 vehicles out of 174 stopped being too dangerous to allow them to continue. What a remarkable contrast to the typical communication from police forces (confirming only the age and gender of a person helping with enquiries), albeit for sound legal reasons.
The only curiosity is the site’s comments policy. Yes, you can submit a comment – ‘Comments will be received by the author, but will not appear on this blog.’ What, never? Seems like a really oddly disengaging approach when they’re getting the actual blog content so right. (Personally, I’d also be wary of asking for age, sex and location on the comments form too.)