Trust in the police has fallen amongst ethnic minority Britons

Tanya AbrahamResearch Director of Political and Social Research
December 15, 2021, 11:36 AM GMT+0

Only 44% of people from minority backgrounds trust the police

Since the summer of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter protests, there has been a greater focus on how businesses and national institutions are addressing racial issues.

When it comes to the police, the findings of a new YouGov survey of ethnic minority Britons show an eight-point drop in trust levels since last year (from 52% to 44%), and is lower still amongst Black respondents (from 42% to 37%).

These are substantially lower trust levels than among the general public, 60% of whom trust the police. While a direct comparison is not available, the same question asked about “local police officers on the beat in my area” and found similar results in June to September this year (59-63% trust) and in July 2019 (64%).

There has also been a change in how people from ethnic minority backgrounds view police brutality in the UK, with more now considering this to be a major problem (21%) than last year (14%). An additional 38% see it as a significant problem, unchanged since last year (37%).

The general public are substantially less likely to see police brutality as a major problem (6%), with another 30% considering it a significant problem. Half of Britons (52%) don’t think there is much of a problem, if there is one at all.

When asked about the treatment of Black and White people in Britain, a majority of ethnic minority Britons think the former are treated less fairly by both the criminal justice system (57%) and the police (59%). Just a fifth think both groups are treated equally (21% by the justice system and 22% by the police).

Views of unfair treatment are more common amongst Black respondents, with three in four thinking that the police (75%) and the criminal justice system (72%) treat them less fairly than White people. These figures remain unchanged since last year.

Among the wider public, almost two in five Britons either say that Black people are treated less fairly (37%) or about the same (39%) as White people by the criminal justice system. Similarly, almost equal proportions think the same about police treatment (40% think Black people are treated less fairly than White people, 37% think the treatment is about the same). General trust amongst ethnic minorities in other institutions also remains low, with even fewer trusting the UK government (33%), the media (32%) and large corporations (23%).

This research previously appeared in The Independent

See full results for ethnic minority Britons here

See full results for all Britons here