Police deploy cartoon cats to alert Londoners to mobile phone crime-wave

Police deploy cartoon cats to warn Londoners of mobile phone crime-wave

The Metropolitan Police have enlisted the services of a trio of cartoon cats in a bid to warn Londoners of the threat posed by cycling thieves to the smartphones in their pockets.

Designed to communicate the threat without sparking fear the #CopCat push employs cat puns to create a more memorable impact, urging citizens to ‘Purr-tect’ your phone by going ‘hands fur-ee’ through the depiction of tabby bobbies nabbing a feline felon.

The change in approach from more traditional scare-tactics is the brainchild of the Universities’ Police Science Institute, which has trialed the fresh approach across two areas in the city. Prof. Innes of Upsi said: "Most crime prevention messages are designed to frighten people into changing their behavior.

"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.”

To conduct the trial Upsi ran both traditional and cartoon campaigns in underground stations around Camden and Islington last year, reinforced by leafletting and a social media campaign. The upshot of which was that people were ‘far more likely’ to remember CopCat than an ominous target sight zeroed in on an unsuspecting mobile phone user.

The Met Police found themselves on the receiving end of an anti-police poster campaign last year when anarchist magazine STRIKE! pasted mock official adverts on billboards around the city.

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