The Home Office – the British government department responsible for domestic issues such as law and order, antidrugs policy, police recruitment, child protection and other matters – has quadrupled its advertising spend over the last four years.
It emerged Tuesday that departmental spending between 2000 and 2004 totalled £101.1 million ($182.37m; €145.72m), four times that of the preceding period, 1996-2000.
Said a Home Office spokesman: "[We make] no apology for investing in publicity campaigns which have helped recruit a record number of police officers, alert children to the dangers of grooming on the internet and provide advice to young people on the risks of class A drugs. That spending amounts to less than 1% of the Home Office overall budget."
But no red-blooded political opponent could ignore the opportunity to exploit such hike in the spending of public money.
Home secretary David Blunkett was trying to "spin his way out of trouble", accused opposition Conservative Party home affairs spokesman David Davis.
Autopilot safely engaged, Davis continued his fulmination: "Crime in Britain is out of control. Instead of solving the problem the home secretary is trying to spin his way out of trouble.
"After three years as home secretary, crime is up, [refugee] asylum is a shambles and no amount of professional communication advice can hide this from the electorate."
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff