10 January 2019
New findings which show public confidence in the police service is increasing have been welcomed by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
Researchers, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), interviewed more than 17,000 people about for the Public Perceptions of Policing in England and Wales report which has been published today (10 January).
It is the fourth time that this survey has been undertaken with the results providing a snapshot of public opinion.
The report concludes that more than 60% of people are satisfied with their local police - an increase from 53% last year - and that almost three quarters of people feel that 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.
However it does highlight concerns around the visibility of officers with only fewer than one in four being happy with how often they had seen a police officer in the previous three months.
Stop and Search was another element people were asked about with 42% believing the tactic is used appropriately however 29% admitted they did not know enough about it to be able to answer the question.
Responding to the report National 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.
“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 said.
The report contains several quotes from those surveyed which mention the effect of the Government’s austerity measures, and the respondents’ recognition that officers are unable to do all they want to because of the reduction in officers and resources.
Mr Apter continued: “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.”
Mr Apter also highlighted the statistics around the use of Stop and Search: “I find it concerning that almost a third of people said they did not know enough about Stop and search to judge if the tactic is used appropriately.
“The Home Office with the National Police Chiefs’ council have a responsibility to educate the public around police stop and search powers and how they are used to help keep the public safe - and it is clear that they are not doing this.
“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,” he concluded.