Over one third of Londoners disagree that the police can be relied upon when they are needed.

Over one third of Londoners think the police are ‘unreliable’

Over one third of Londoners disagree that the police can be relied upon when they are needed.

Research conducted by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) found that Londoners are becoming less confident that the Metropolitan Police can do its job.

Whilst 59% of Londoners remain confident that the police can be relied upon when they are needed, this is far lower than previous years.

In response to declining confidence in the Metropolitan Police, Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said: “I said we were serious about delivering higher standards and rooting out those who corrupt our integrity, and I meant it.

“The vast majority of our officers and staff are determined to be part of that mission. Their pride in policing is undiminished but it has been challenged. I have been hugely encouraged by their willingness to step forward in these testing times.

“Restoring public confidence is going to involve us removing the barriers to trust by getting rid of those officers who shouldn’t be here and delivering higher standards, but it’s also about building policing that works for Londoners.”

According to the survey, 77% of Londoners said they could rely on the police to help them when it was needed back in December 2014.

Confidence in the police reached its high point in March 2017 with 79% of respondents feeling confidence about the work of the Metropolitan Police.

Confidence in the police begins to decline after March 2017 and continues to decline thereafter.

At the start of 2018, confidence in the police fell to less than three quarters (74%). In 2019, confidence in the police further dropped to 71%. In 2020, it hit just 70%.

At the start of 2021, confidence in the police sat around 66%, before steadily declining to an all-time low of 57% – first in March 2022 and again in December 2022.

In terms of demographics, MOPAC’s data suggests that White British, Mixed Ethnicity, and LGBT+ Londoners were more likely to say the police could not be relied upon.

By contrast, Asian and White Other Londoners were more likely to say the police could be relied upon.

2017: a year in terror

Counter-terrorism research suggests that 2017 was one of the most challenging years for the police in recent memory.

Within the space of a few months, London experienced several major terrorist attacks.

On 22 March 2017, a terrorist attack took place outside the Palace of Westminster in London, leading to injury of more than 50 people, four of them being fatal, as well as the murder of PC Keith Palmer.

In June 2017 alone, London was hit by two major terrorist attacks: the London Bridge Attack on 3 June 2017 followed by the Finsbury Park Attack just over two weeks later.

The former resulted 48 injured and 11 dead – three of which were the perpetrators – whilst the latter resulted in 10 injuries and the death.

Additionally, on 15 September 2017, an explosion occurred on a District Line train at Parsons Green stations after a timer bomb detonated, injuring 30 people.

According to Home Office data, there were 400 arrests on suspicion of terrorism-related offences in the year to the end of September 2017 – the highest recorded figure, up more than 50% on the previous year, as well as over 3,000 “subjects of interest”.

Throughout 2017, the data shows a clear and steady decline in the public’s belief in the police to protect them from crime – a decline which is sustained until present day.

Declining criminal charge rates

The charge rate for various crimes has declined over the course of several years.

Data from the Home Office, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that between 2015 and 2022 total charge rates dropped from 17% to 6%.

Assault without injury (16% to 3%), assault with injury (25% to 5%), public fear, alarm or distress (26% to 3%), shoplifting (36% to 14%), harassment (28% to 4%), stalking (35% to 5%) are just some forms of crime that have experienced a declining charge rate.

Whilst confidence in the police has seen a very small uptick between the end of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, confidence in the police is still near historic lows.

If you wish to report a crime to the Metropolitan Police, visit the Met’s website.

Featured image credit: King’s Church International, Unsplash

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