Leicestershire  Police Federation

Public confidence in policing up

11 January 2019

More people have reported they are satisfied with their local police, according to research carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

Researchers interviewed more than 17,000 people for the fourth Public Perceptions of Policing in England and Wales report published yesterday.

The report concludes 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 feel police respond effectively to 999 calls.

Two thirds of those surveyed also felt that their local police treat people fairly and with respect.

The research also reveals 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.

Dave Stokes, chair of Leicestershire Police Federation, has welcomed those results but raised concerns that fewer than one in four of those who took part in the survey reported seeing a police officer in the previous three months.

“In one sense, this is quite alarming but since officer numbers have been reduced due to the Government’ cuts programmes it’s obvious there are less of us around and there is a lack of visible police presence in many areas of the country. We have been highlighting this – and warning of the damaging effect this could have on communities – for some time to no avail. Time and time again, the public are reporting the same concerns.”

The survey asked for people’s views on stop and search with 42 per cent of those surveyed believing the tactic is used appropriately although 29 per cent admitted they did not know enough about it to be able to answer the question.

Dave  believes stop and search is an essential tool for police officers when used correctly and with public support, explaining: “I feel that the increase in knife crime could be combatted with proactive use of stop and search powers. This is a widely debated subject but, if we were to secure the trust of the public that we are using stop and search powers properly, and we had the front-line officers to do the patrols, then I believe we would see a sharp reduction in knife crime.”

Responding to the report the chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, said: “This research provides and 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."

He explained it was heartening that the public recognise the issues the police service is facing and continue to support officers 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,” John added.

Read the report.