Victoria Police have recently started a recruitment campaign using sponsored Facebook advertisements and hoo boy, it doesn’t seem like the best time for this.
The advertisement pictured below, which popped up on my own personal Facebook just one day after Melbourne’s powerful Black Lives Matter protest, is one of 11 new campaigns launched by Victoria Police in an effort to recruit an additional 3000+ cops.
According to the state budget, Victoria Police is trying to recruit 3,135 new officers, which may be a little difficult now that we’re all pretty keen to throw out the whole justice system in Australia and start again.
In what we can only assume must’ve been a wild coincidence, all 11 of the sponsored recruitment posts were sent live on June 4, just two days before the protests were set to kick off around the country.
This specific advertisement was targeted at women aged 18-44, however Victoria Police are yet to respond to a request asking for further information on their recruitment target demographic.
According to the Victoria Police Annual Report for 2018-19, Victoria Police spent $3,592,000 on “advertising expenditure” for a police recruitment campaign – plus an additional $1,092,000 spend on creative/campaign development, research, print and collateral and other campaign costs specifically for the purpose of recruiting new officers.
In total, the Victorian Police spent $4,684,000 on the police recruitment campaign.
As it currently stands, the Victoria Police are set to receive $186.1 million worth of funding from the Victorian Government in the 2019-2020 financial year. This makes up 34.1% of the total budget for the Department of Justice and Community Safety, according to the Parliament of Victoria Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.
It is unclear how much of this $186.1 million budget for 2019/20 is allocated for recruitment advertising costs, but it could be assumed that a similar figure will be spent on recruitment this financial year as the number of proposed new recruits (3,135) is identical.
We reached out to Victoria Police seeking further information on their advertising spend for the 2019/20 financial year, their use of Facebook’s targeted advertising software and the timeliness of the campaign. We’ll be sure to update you if/when they get back to us.Image: Getty Images | Victoria Police