OPEN LETTER TO THE ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY FROM POLICE FEDERATION OF ENGLAND & WALES, SCOTTISH POLICE FEDERATION AND POLICE FEDERATION FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
Dear Advertising Standards Authority,
We write to you as the leaders of the UK Police Federations representing over 140,000 rank and file police officers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, to register our complaint about the latest advertising campaign by Lush. The advertising campaign accuses police officers of spying on the public and being ‘paid to lie’.
We have been contacted directly by hundreds of police officers from the four countries of the United Kingdom who, like us, find the campaign distasteful, offensive and consider it deliberately provokes an anti-police sentiment.
According to the Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5794785/Cosmetics-chain-Lush-fire-bizarre-advertising-campaign.html#ixzz5HAit9Gc0), Lush said on Twitter: ‘These posters are part of the campaign we’re supporting which looks at the ongoing undercover policing scandal, in which some police officers are infiltrating the homes and lives of non-criminals, and the aftermath of these actions!’
In another tweet, Lush said: ‘To clear this up, this isn’t an anti-police campaign, it’s to highlight the abuse that people face when their lives have been infiltrated by undercover police.’
It is clear and we consider the campaign to be anti-police. We also consider it to be ill-judged, offensive and inflammatory. It suggests that police officers deliberately lie and seek to cause harm to the public. It deliberately creates a distrust of police officers and is grossly offensive to over 140,000 men and women who do their utmost to deliver the very best service they can to the public in incredibly difficult circumstances.
We had hoped that the initial reaction via social media, and then the national media coverage, would have resulted in Lush accepting they have made a mistake and that they would have issued an apology; however, that has not yet happened.
We request that you register our complaint and take action.
Chair, Police Federation of England and Wales
Chair, Scottish Police Federation
Chair, Police Federation for Northern Ireland
**UPDATE: ASA have advised us that this complaint falls outwith their remit. We don’t yet know why and will continue making representations to appropriate regulators.