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Plans to change branding of PSNI scrapped following online backlash

The proposed branding included the use of the term Police Service NI rather than PSNI.
Jun 10th 2020, 10:28 AM 16,370 13

PLANS TO CHANGE the branding of the PSNI have been dropped following backlash online. 

Last week, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne posted images of the proposed new branding on social media. This branding included the use of the term Police Service NI rather than PSNI or Police Service Northern Ireland. 

However, in a statement last night Byrne confirmed that plans have now been scrapped. This comes following criticism online. 

“The removal of ‘Northern Ireland’ from the police uniform crest and vehicles could have undermined confidence in the police,” DUP MLA and Policing Board member Mervyn Storey said. 

“I understand the important of the branding for all outward facing organisations, but the Chief Constable must also realise the importance of symbols and names in Northern Ireland,” Storey said. 

Explaining the reasoning behind the proposed rebrand, Byrne said: “Since my appointment it has been my ambition to make the Police Service more visible, accessible and responsible. It was part of my vision to refresh our corporate image, branding, uniform and fleet as symbols of our ambitious modernisation plans.”

Byrne added that the proposed branding was “widely shared” with key stakeholders including the Policing Board, Department of Justice and elected representatives before being released online.

However, Storey said: “Contrary to what has been said, Policing Board members had to press the PSNI for the detail about this rebrand. Eventually details were secured last Thursday, and members were given an opportunity to study the details but were unaware that the Chief Constable was going to tweet all detail on Friday. 

“All Policing Board members should be trusted with the detail throughout such a process so important feedback can be given on matters that would have a political impact.” 

In his statement yesterday, Byrne confirmed that “the name of the Police Service of Northern Ireland is set in law and will not be changing, nor will there be any changes to the Service crest and emblems”.

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“I recognise entirely that the crest is enshrined in law,” Byrne said. 

“This has resulted in much debate and commentary and provoked a strong reaction from some,” he said.

I have listened to the feedback and as a result can confirm that the simplified white version of the crest planned for use on social media and digital platforms will not now form part of the public consultation and will no longer be used. 

“In the spirit of openness I was prepared to test other ideas and was keen to start an initial conversation,” he said. 

Byrne said he wants to “move away from the use of the acronym PSNI and focus more on the word police”. 

The PSNI plans to continue with its plans to launch its public consultation later this year. 

“[We] would welcome the feedback and contribution from all our communities to help shape the look and feel of the Police Service of Northern Ireland,” Byrne said. 

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Hayley Halpin

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