Antwerp police are exploring the idea of selling branded merchandise, from baby onesies and teddy bears to umbrellas and bike seat covers.
Police are curious as to whether merchandise emblazoned with the Antwerp police logo could help make them an attractive employer as they face an aging workforce that means they’ll need to fill hundreds of openings in the coming years.
The official Twitter account of the police department posted a survey on Monday calling for opinions on which sort of merchandise people might be interested in purchasing, and asking people to rate how appealing their current logo is.
“Antwerp Police Force wants to make itself known more as a strong and thorough brand in a modern, progressive and open way,” the survey explains. “The aim is to put our police force on the proverbial map, even more so than today, among the people of Antwerp, visitors to the city and its interest groups.”
We onderzoeken of we producten met het merklogo van de Antwerpse politie op de markt kunnen brengen en verkopen.
Wij willen jouw mening hierover kennen. Vijf minuutjes: meer tijd kost het niet om onze vragenlijst in te vullen, https://t.co/CN1H1IMNtp. pic.twitter.com/gx0jynxpMK
We are investigating whether we can market and sell products with the Antwerp police brand logo. We want to know your opinion about this. Five minutes: that’s all it takes to complete our questionnaire.
“It’s just an idea,” police spokesperson Wouter Bruyns told De Standaard.
“Maybe a stupid question: shouldn’t a police logo only be used by the police?” asked one user.
“Our logo (the little flame) can indeed only be used by the police,” the official account responded. “Our brand logo (the circle with coat of arms) is not an official police designation and can therefore be used for gadgets, etc.”
The survey presented various categories of merchandise, from clothing and accessories to toys.
“I think this is a terrible idea,” said one Twitter user. “Police logos do not belong on merchandising. Unfortunately, I cannot fill in the form because I have to indicate what I would buy and how much money I would spend. This is a bad survey.”
Some of the criticism questioned whether or not a police force was even allowed to carry out commercial activities.
“We are indeed not a commercial player,” Bruyns said. “Parallel to this survey, we are therefore also investigating what is possible and allowed, and how the products could be distributed.”
They pointed to the possibility of a retail chain offering the products for sale.
“We do not intend to free up our own staff for this,” clarified the spokesperson.