Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has published its detailed report entitled Public Perceptions of Policing in England and Wales 2018 in partnership with BMG Research. HMICFRS commissioned BMG Research to undertake a large-scale survey of the public to better understand its views about satisfaction with their local police force, perceptions of crime and police handling of crime, confidence in police, police visibility, contact with the police, the legitimacy of the police, engagement with the police and police responsibilities and priorities.
Overall, the report finds that satisfaction with local policing is relatively high. Over three-fifths of respondents (61%, in fact) say that they’re satisfied, while only 12% are dissatisfied. Confidence in the police service to deal effectively with a range of situations is high, with respondents most confident that the police would be effective in dealing with an emergency situation.
When asked to choose from a list of crimes police should prioritise respondents, were most likely to select dealing with terrorism/extremism (49%), addressing child sexual exploitation/abuse (46%) and violent crime (41%).
The research also found that more respondents would speak highly of the police (40%) than would be critical of them (18%). Around two-thirds of respondents agree that their local police force would treat them fairly if they needed to contact them and, although the majority of respondents have seen a police officer or a Police Community Support Officer on foot at least once in the past year, a sizeable proportion (36%) have not.
Confidence in policing
The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on Local Policing, chief constable Simon Cole, said: “The public perceptions of policing statistics for 2018 reflect the hard work of many police officers, staff, special constables and volunteers. Satisfaction for local police services remains consistently high and the proportion of respondents who are satisfied has increased from 2017.”
Cole added: “Confidence in policing has increased, with more people speaking highly of their service than are critical of it. Although respondents acknowledge that crime and anti-social behaviour are increasing, they do feel that their local police officers are taking appropriate action to combat them.”
In conclusion, Cole stated: “It’s clear from the survey that police visibility remains very important to the public. All chief constables are working to ensure the service is as visible and approachable as possible despite reduced funding. Police and Crime Commissioners are currently consulting on their budget proposals for next year. Community engagement and trust in the police are central to the British policing model.”
*Access the report in full: Public Perceptions of Policing in England and Wales 2018