AN Accrington policeman has been chosen as the face of the county's force in a new recruitment drive.

And dog handler PC Tony Ellis said today it was a big shock seeing his face on huge advertising hoardings.

PC Ellis, 37, was one of six officers to feature in a poster campaign aimed at attracting recruits from all sections of Lancashire's multi-racial community last year.

The campaign has been updated and a new slogan placed under PC Ellis' picture reading: "You give up a lot of things to become a police officer. Your identity isn't one of them."

It is a message which has struck a chord with officers in the force.

PC Ellis, who has been a policeman for 13 years, said: "What the officers want to see coming across is the message that we welcome anyone from any group if they want to become a police officer.

"The problem I found was that white people were coming to us and saying that they thought the police didn't want them because the force was keen to recruit from ethnic backgrounds. That isn't true. It doesn't matter what colour your skin is, you don't lose your personality or identity when you become a police officer." The poster featuring PC Ellis is the latest in a series of adverts used by Lancashire Police. All have emphasised the fact that anyone can apply to be a police officer.

PC Ellis, who lives in Lammack, Blackburn, believes his poster will be up for at least the next six months, and it will also feature on the sides of buses.

He added: "The first time I saw the posters I was driving through Darwen with all the sirens going. I glanced up and there was this big picture of me. It was quite a shock and it is strange to think that my face is all over Lancashire but it is an honour. However, I am getting quite a bit of stick from my colleagues, who have dubbed me the pin-up boy now!

"Hopefully it will encourage people who want to become police officers to come forward. We would certainly welcome them."