UK Public Loses Trust in Police Amid Rising Crime and Scandals, Poll Reveals

Shocking poll reveals plummeting public trust in UK police amid scandals, prompting calls for radical justice system reform to restore confidence.

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UK Public Loses Trust in Police Amid Rising Crime and Scandals, Poll Reveals

UK Public Loses Trust in Police Amid Rising Crime and Scandals, Poll Reveals

A recent YouGov poll commissioned by The Times Crime and Justice Commission has exposed a startling lack of public confidence in the UK police force. The survey found that more than half of the public do not trust the police to solve crimes, while over a third have no faith in the authorities to maintain law and order.

The poll results come amid a series of high-profile scandals involving the police, including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Met Police officer and the crimes of serial rapist and former Met Police officer David Carrick. These incidents, along with increasing delays, record court backlogs, and overcrowded prisons, have contributed to the public's growing concerns.

Why this matters: The erosion of public trust in the police has far-reaching consequences for the entire criminal justice system. Without confidence in law enforcement, citizens may be less likely to report crimes or cooperate with investigations, potentially leading to a breakdown in social order and an increase in criminal activity.

The Times Crime and Justice Commission, a year-long inquiry into the future of the criminal justice system, was launched in response to the poll findings. The commission, which includes experts from various fields, aims to address the worsening detection rates, lengthening delays, record court backlogs, and overflowing prisons. It will draw up a radical blueprint for reform, with the goal of restoring public trust in the criminal justice system.

The poll also highlighted specific areas of concern, such as the rise in shoplifting and cybercrime. Over 80% of shoplifting incidents do not receive a police response, and retailers are reporting an increase in organized shoplifting. Additionally, the normalization of knife crime in some urban areas has become a pressing issue.

Public perception of how seriously the police treat sexual assault cases has also declined, with the proportion of people who think the police do not take sexual assault seriously enough rising from 54% to 68% in the last six months. Only 26% of people believed the police would arrest and prosecute someone if they were burgled.

The decline in public trust has been particularly pronounced in London, where the proportion of Londoners with a fair amount of confidence in the police fell from 47% to 32%. The Metropolitan Police has faced criticism for its handling of pro-Palestinian demonstrations and an incident where an antisemitism campaigner was called 'openly Jewish' and threatened with arrest.

Trust in the police and crime, in general, are expected to be hot-button issues in the upcoming elections. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has acknowledged that trust in the police has been "hugely damaged" following the Casey Report, which found the Met Police to be homophobic, racist, and misogynistic.

A Home Office spokesman stated, "We expect the police to get the basics right and provide the appropriate support for victims and swift action against perpetrators. The Home Secretary has been clear that the police must raise the bar to regain the trust and confidence of the public."

Key Takeaways

  • Over 50% of the UK public do not trust the police to solve crimes, 1/3 have no faith in law enforcement.
  • Scandals, delays, backlogs, and overcrowded prisons have eroded public trust in the criminal justice system.
  • Declining trust may lead to less crime reporting, social disorder, and increased criminal activity.
  • Specific concerns include shoplifting, cybercrime, knife crime, and police handling of sexual assault cases.
  • UK government acknowledges "hugely damaged" trust in police and calls for restoring public confidence.