Legal, decent, honest, truthful
The key "lie" in the ad was that police officers will spend 80% of their time "on the beat". The ASA pointed out that this only included a fraction of police officers and anyway "the beat" actually includes being in meetings, offices, and doing related paperwork. For example, if a neighbourhood officer attends a report of burglary at a local supermarket, they may spend an hour at the premises looking at CCTV, writing a statement and checking out the scene of the crime. The government would have you accept that time as "beat" time. Worse, they want you to accept that being in a three hour Neighbourhood Action Group meeting is pounding the beat.
"Don't look round. If one of them talks to us we might have to leave our beat."
The public thinks that being on the beat means walking around local streets available for questions, problems, and on the lookout for crime. The government knows the public thinks that.
In fact, most police areas are so busy that a neighbourhood officer will never spend 80% of his or her time pounding pavements unless he is to completely ignore all crime going on around him. Either he will attend reports of crime in his area, and spend 1-2 hours dealing with the resulting paperwork (assuming there's no arrest to be made or ongoing enquiries with witnesses, in which case the time spent will be considerably more). Or he will hear reports of crime from nearby areas, or areas more distant, and not to attend could be neglect of duty, or just plain lazy.
So there is no such thing as being on the beat 80% of the time, unless you staff a police force so vigorously that there are armies of officers walking around with nothing to do. Nobody thinks we should do that, I don't think.
Perhaps, instead of releasing adverts full of deception and untruths, the government should try to push the message that we should not ask for police officers to spend 80% of their time strolling about town when there are unattended reports of burglary, robbery and assault.
Perhaps the government should admit how seriously under-staffed towns in Britain are, and do something about it. Then there would be something worth advertising.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.