16 January 2019
Fewer than a quarter of people are happy with the visibility of police officers in their communities, according to a new report.
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton said he was not surprised by the research and called on the Government to provide extra funding to improve policing services.
More than 17,000 people were interviewed for the Public Perceptions of Policing in England and Wales survey carried out on behalf of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Policing and Fire & Rescue Services.
It highlighted concerns around the visibility of officers with fewer than one in four being happy with how often they had seen a police officer in the previous three months.
Tony said: “This report confirms what everyone in policing has been saying for some time now. Cuts to policing budgets have affected the service we can provide. The Police Federation has been warning the Government that our communities would suffer and it would now seem that the public are noticing the lack of officers on their streets.”
It is the fourth time that this survey has been undertaken with the results, which were published on Thursday, providing a snapshot of public opinion.
The report concluded that more than 60 per cent of people are satisfied with their local police – an increase from 53 per cent last year – and that almost three quarters of people felt that police respond effectively to 999 calls.
Two thirds of those surveyed also felt that their local police treated people fairly and with respect. The research also revealed that almost two thirds of people who had had contact with a police officer in the previous year were satisfied with the way were dealt with.
National Federation chair John Apter has echoed Tony’s views: “This research provides an important insight into how the public view the police service. The results are reassuring that the majority of people still support policing and the difficult job we do. The police service has lost almost 22,000 officers since 2010 and, while we are doing all we can to provide the best service to the public, the consequences of the cuts are increasingly evident to the communities we serve.”
He added: “The statistics around the lack of visibility of police officers is not surprising when you consider our neighbourhood and response teams have been cut back to the bone. However, it is heartening that the public recognise the issues we are facing and continue to support us despite these challenges.
“Our communities deserve better - and we want to deliver - but in order to do that we need an immediate and significant, centrally-funded investment from the Government, without this my colleagues will struggle to provide the service they joined up to provide.”
The survey also revealed that 42 per cent of people believed stop and search is used appropriately, however, 29 per cent admitted they did not know enough about it to be able to answer the question.
The national chair said: “Stop and search is a legitimate and effective tool in the fight against serious and violent crime and the public we serve deserve to be informed to help them understand its role in modern policing.”