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Setting priorities for increasing public confidence

Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Tiff Lynch says increasing engagement and local uniformed policing need to be the top priorities if forces are to improve public confidence in policing.

She was speaking after the findings of the first report into public confidence by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) reveal that while overall confidence in policing is riding at 76 per cent there are significant differences in confidence ratings between: rural and urban areas; deprived and affluent areas; different age groups and ethnic and minority groups.

On local policing, people were three times as likely to be satisfied with local policing than dissatisfied (52 per cent v 17 per cent) but policing still trails behind most public services. The survey also revealed more people were dissatisfied than satisfied with levels of uniformed policing in their areas.

Tiff says: "This report has some very clear messages around public engagement and local policing and, in particular, how uniformed officers are seen to be in shaping people's attitude to the police. We should be aiming for confidence levels at least as high as other public services and we should be looking carefully at how we improve the confidence of those groups who are currently most dissatisfied."

More than 25,000 people aged 16+, including more than 460 from the Leicestershire Police region, completed the survey.HM Inspector Mike Cunningham said: "How the police are viewed by members of the public is vitally important as it impacts upon feelings of safety and how confident they are in reporting a crime."

Key findings:

Safety and security
74 per cent of all respondents are satisfied with their area and feel safe after dark.

Local policing
The more frequent the contact with local police officers/PCSOs, the more positive the views expressed were.

Over twice (64 percent) did not feel well informed about local policing than did feel informed (31 per cent).Those who said that they have been consulted were significantly more likely to feel that the police understood relevant local issues and were dealing with them.

Awareness and attitudes toward serious and organised crime
The vast majority of respondents were aware but had little knowledge of these issues. Less than 0.5 per cent of people had been a victim or witness to cyber-crime and of these, only half reported it to the police.