Public Worried About Reduced Police Service

According to new research published today the British public say they would be worried if the police stopped providing the current range of services, as a result of budget cuts by this government.

In a survey, commissioned by the Police Federation of England and Wales and undertaken by Ipsos MORI, 86 percent of the general public said they would be worried if the police stopped providing the range of services outlined by interviewers; 44 percent say they would be very worried.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has made clear on a number of occasions that the government view is that police officers should just fight crime, but the reality is that police officers do a whole lot more. The findings from the survey published today show that the public think the police are responsible for a number of services which are not fighting crime, with 84 percent saying they believe the police are responsible for intervening in domestic rows and disputes; 23 percent saying they believe the police are responsible for arranging for vulnerable children to be taken in to care; and 39 percent saying the police are responsible for monitoring offenders who have been released from prison.

Indeed, the public feel the police should continue to be responsible for providing a wide range of non-crime fighting related services such as caring for victims and witnesses of crime (57 percent); monitoring offenders who have been released from prison (52 percent); intervening in domestic rows and disputes (48 percent); and arranging for vulnerable children to be taken in to care (34 percent).

Paul McKeever, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, says:

"This is the reality of the ill-planned and drastic cut to the policing budget imposed by this coalition government. It clearly demonstrates that the public have a very different view about what they want and expect of their police service, compared to the government's blinkered view that policing should be purely fighting crime.

"The Home Secretary needs to take heed of today's findings. If the police service is able to do all that the public expects of it, it will need the shackles of financial restraint urgently removed. A cut of 20 per cent over the next four years will inevitably lead to a poorer service, increased crime rates and will seriously jeopardise public safety and the security of the nation."

ENDS


Notes to Editors

  • The report presents the findings of research undertaken for the Police Federation of England and Wales by Ipsos MORI between 7th and 13th January 2011.

  • Findings are based on 1,141 completed interviews conducted with a representative sample of adults aged 15 and over across England and Wales. Data has been weighted to reflect the known population.

  • Interviews were conducted face-to-face in peoples' homes using the Ipsos MORI omnibus survey.

  • The survey asked respondents a series of questions about responsibilities and types of crime, before asking "How worried, if at all, would you be if the police stopped providing the full range of services we have discussed due to budget cuts"

  • Full details of the questionnaire and the survey can be found at www.polfed.org and www.ipsos-mori.com

  • Quote from Home Secretary, Theresa May at ACPO Conference, 30 June 2010: - "I couldn't be any clearer about your mission: it isn't a 30-point plan; it is to cut crime. No more, and no less."

For further information please contact the Police Federation of England and Wales press office on 01372 352071 or, out of office hours, on 07699 780798.

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