More Britons now unconfident than confident in the police to deal with crime locally

Beth MannResearch Executive
October 06, 2021, 9:16 AM GMT+0

Following several high-profile murders of young women, including that of Sarah Everard by Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens, coupled with botched responses from police commanders, new YouGov data reveals the extent of the damage this has caused to public confidence.

YouGov routinely asks the British public their confidence in the police to deal with crime in their local area, and for the first time since we started asking in July 2019 more people are now unconfident in the police (48%) than confident (43%).

This is a stark decrease of 10 points since late February/early March, when 53% had a lot/fair amount of confidence and 40% had not very much or none. However, between that survey and one at the end of the month – a period which coincided with Sarah Everard’s murder – these figures narrowed, and had remained at that level until deteriorating further this month.

This decline in confidence is actually highest among men, with the number of men lacking confidence in the police increasing from 48% in September to 53% now. Among women there has been a more modest shift, from 40% to 43%.

With this in mind, we asked Brits about their trust in the police in general, the Met, local forces and individual police officers. The police in general are positively viewed by the public, with 65% saying they trust them, and only 31% saying they don’t. People outside of London give similar results when asked about their local police force (by 65% to 28%), and individual police officers are likewise largely trusted (by 56% to 26%).

But, when asked specifically about the Metropolitan Police in London, trust dramatically decreases. Only 33% of the British public trust the Met, and 42% say they do not. Distrust is highest among 18-24 year olds, at 51% to 23%. Distrust is also higher amongst men (46%), than women (37%), a pattern witnessed across all of our measures of trust towards police. Labour voters have less trust in the Metropolitan police (distrusting them by 29% to 49%) than Conservative voters, who are divided on the issue (by 38% to 38%).

Londoners, however, remain for the most part confident in the Met, with 57% trusting them vs 39% distrusting them. This stands in contrast to Britons elsewhere, who tend to view the force with suspicion.

See historic tracker results here and latest results here

Data from the second half of this article was originally commissioned by Sky News as part of a wider survey. Tables can be found here