Behavioural Crime Prevention with #CopCat : Cardiff University & Metropolitan Police Service

Cardiff University
Metropolitan Police Service

Design, Print, Film, Animation

We worked with the Metropolitan Police Services’ Communications team and researchers from Cardiff University to design an innovative crime prevention campaign. We developed a colourful, likeable cartoon cat messenger, which, was designed and animated by Spin the Yard and On Par Productions, to give simple, practical messages in a humorous and non-threatening way.

Focused upon a problem in London with thieves on mopeds and bicycles stealing mobile phones, the preventative campaign encouraged people to be more aware of their surroundings, including going hands-free when using their phone on the street.  The idea was to test the performance of the #CopCat campaign when compared with a far more traditional set of fear-framed messages in the Metropolitan Police led #loveyourphone campaign. Importantly, the idea was to do this ‘for real’ to see how the different messengers and messages performed in busy and ‘noisy’ urban settings. 

Each campaign was assigned to a separate London borough. We designed large poster panels and stair panels which were placed in and around relevant tube stations including Kings Cross, Camden and Islington as well as several different graphics delivered by social media through the Metropolitan Police and Cardiff University’s corporate Facebook and Twitter channels. We worked with with On Par Productions and Spin the Yard to create several animated characters including ‘CopCat’ and developed an animated crime prevention film. For the music and sound design we worked with our old friend, producer Eddie Boogie who created a bespoke piece of electronic music.

The effects of the campaigns were evaluated by a Cardiff University research team who conducted observational research, street questioning, social media analytics and a staff survey of local employers to discern how far people recalled the different messaging and their reactions to it. Findings from the study were developed into a briefing paper which can be found here:,-tugs-and-teachable-moments-in-crime-prevention-communications

The campaign received widespread national media coverage both in the press and on broadcast media, you can read more from the BBC here: