Reputation Survey: Police - Police have public approval

The vast majority of the public still trusts the police despite criticism over their handling of recent public protests.

Mixed messages: public's view of police
Mixed messages: public's view of police

As the inquest continues into the death of Ian Tomlinson, who died after being hit by an officer during the 2009 G20 protest, new research finds the public is widely supportive of the police.

According to PRWeek/OnePoll's survey of 2,000 members of the public, 74 per cent said they trusted the police. Seventy-eight per cent agreed with the Government's proposal to give stronger powers to the police to ban known hooligans from marches and order the removal of face masks.

Sixty-six per cent did not think that the police used too much force during protests. Of those, 40 per cent said the police needed to keep order and 25 per cent said they did not use enough force because property was still being destroyed.

It is the police who received the most sympathy from 41 per cent of respondents, with only 12 per cent having more sympathy for protesters. Thirty-two per cent had equal amounts of sympathy for both.

Sixty per cent of people did not think the police unfairly picked out ethnic minorities for stop and search procedures, but 57 per cent said the police did not respect individuals' privacy.

A significant 71 per cent said they did not think the police were visible enough and 75 per cent said seeing police patrol the streets made them feel safer.

Sixty-four per cent did not think the Government should make cuts to the police force because they believed it was critical for reducing crime.

Survey of 2,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll

HOW I SEE IT

John Coventry, Account director, Kindred

With a 74 per cent trust rating, the survey makes for some positive reading for the police. They are in the midst of a tough time right now but it seems, from these figures at least, the public is broadly on their side.

The comms challenge is a tough one: how do you show yourself to be maintaining public order while upholding the right to protest for those who want to make their voices heard, all the time operating in a high scrutiny rolling news context?

It's interesting that while 65 per cent of respondents feel the police do keep them safe, another 50 per cent say they are not respected by the public. It seems that it's not about how individuals view the police but how individuals think others view the police.

The good news is that the public backs the police's role in keeping order, but there's an almost even split on those who consider the police too aggressive and those who want to see a tougher approach. You certainly won't please all of the people all of the time on this issue.

Do you think the police ... are justified using the technique of
kettling?
Yes - 41
No - 25.5
Not sure - 33.5

Do you think the police ... are visible enough (ie: walking the
streets?)
Yes - 19.5
No - 70.5
Not sure - 10

Do you think the police ... patrolling the streets makes you feel safer?
Yes - 75
No - 16
Not sure - 9

Do you think the police ... are respected by the general public?
Yes - 30
No - 48
Not sure - 22

Safer streets

75% of respondents said police patrolling the streets made them feel safer

stop and search

60% did not agree that the police unfairly picked out ethnic minorities for stop and search procedures

Lack of respect

48% said the police were not respected by the general public

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