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Anti-crime poster with cartoon cat 'less frightening'

Anti-crime poster with cartoon cat 'less frightening'

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Cartoon cats have been used to make police warning messages more memorable and less about trying to scare people into changing their behaviour.

The Universities' Police Science Institute (Upsi) in Cardiff ran a trial in London to warn about thieves on bikes stealing mobile phones.

The #Copcat trial with Metropolitan Police took place in two areas.

Prof Martin Innes from Upsi said early results show the trial was successful and other forces are interested.

"Most crime prevention messages are designed to frighten people into changing their behaviour," said Prof Innes.

"We designed an experiment where we ran two campaigns - a very traditional campaign designed to change people's crime prevention behaviour versus our more experimental campaign and saw what results were and how they were different.

"We tried to use humour and cartoons to change how memorable the messages were for members of the public.

"The campaign was about mobile phone thefts by people on mopeds and bicycles which has become quite a problem at the current time.

"When we were looking at it, it was just an emerging problem that was starting to come through, so we thought this was a good thing to test this campaign on."

Both the traditional and cartoon campaigns were on display in underground stations around Camden and Islington boroughs in 2016.

Prof Innes said people were exposed to them when they stepped on and off the trains, and officers handed out leaflets at stations while there was also a social media campaign.

He added: "What we saw was people were far more likely to remember the cartoon cat - who we called Copcat - and the advice he gave than they were for a far more traditional police campaign.

Click here to read the full article including an interview with Prof Martin Innes: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-40654129

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