The best way to retain the trust of the local community is to get to know the media, the Alarm conference was told.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary's corporate information head, Matt Tapp, was advising delegates on managing risks to their good name.
Tapp personally handled a huge blow to his force's reputation last year, when a police officer was jailed for 18 years for sexually assaulting a woman in a cell block of which he was in charge.
He said the force had largely survived the incident through identifying in advance risks to its reputation and planning how to minimise the damage they could cause.
“It's important to establish trust with your community… by getting to know journalists and developing relationships with them.”