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This article examines the role and applicability of marketing in a public service organisation. It is argued that the changing external environment now facing many police agencies requires them to develop a marketing orientation if they are to continue to be effective. Obstacles to achieving this as well as the key factors that impinge on the public "image" of the police force are discussed. The authors then focus on a major study of the Dublin population's perception of its police force, the Garda Siochana, over a wide range of concerns. The research indicates that in general the Irish police force enjoys a markedly positive image. However, a level of dissatisfactin is identified over certain issues and among certain segments of the population, especially youth. The adoption of the marketing concept and of a bilateral community orientated approach to policing is recommended. This involves encouraging active police involvement in community activities, developing "internal marketing" to nurture a highly motivated and customer-conscious force as well as gathering and interpreting regular marketing information. As the effectiveness of police operations largely depends on the co-operation and goodwill of the community, the primary task of marketing is seen as maintaining and improving the image fo the police.
Bohan, P.: Law enforcement marketing: perceptions of a police force. Irish Marketing Review, Vol.2, 1987, pp.72-86.