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Geldof to star in police recruitment drive

LONDON - Bob Geldof, the former Boomtown Rat and third-world debt campaigner, is the latest celebrity the government is hoping will convince people to sign up for the police force.

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He is set to appear in a new ad, breaking tomorrow, which shows Geldof talking about separating a child from its parents because of suspected child abuse.

The ad features Geldof sitting on the now familiar white chair saying to camera: "Separating a child from its parents has to be one of the most devastating things". The ad finishes with a shot of the empty chair and the campaign strapline "Could you?".

It is part of the government's £12m, three-year campaign to attract new recruits to the police force, and will be backed with radio, press, cinema, poster and online advertising. The ads are created by M&C Saatchi.

Geldof joins celebrities including former 'EastEnders' actress Patsy Palmer, 'Coronation Street' actor Chris Bisson and former Liverpool and England footballer John Barnes who have starred in the campaign, which highlights the challenges of being a police officer.

In another execution featuring Lennox Lewis, the boxer says how important it is to stay in control, but confesses that if he were faced with a man who beat his wife, it would be difficult to keep his composure.

The Live Aid founder and internet entrepreneur is reported to have signed up for the campaign after positive contact with the police force -- especially during difficulties with his children and former wife Paula Yates.

He told The Independent: "I've found them to be hugely compassionate. A couple of them have just put their arm around me and said, 'If you need help, give us a call'. So that's largely why I'm doing this to be honest -- because I remember those instances."

According to the Home Office, since the campaign launched in August 2000, the Police Service has received 67,000 expressions of interest from applicants.

"The campaign has already been extremely successful in raising the profile of policing as a modern and progressive career choice. Research shows that 60% of respondents said the advertising had a positive impact on their perceptions of the police service," Home Office minister John Denham said.

The ads break during ITV's 'The Vault' on Saturday evening.

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