Survey summary 2018

HMICFRS commissioned BMG Research to undertake a large-scale survey of the public to assess current perceptions of the police. The study consisted of 17,043 surveys with members of the public. The majority were conducted via online panels, with a small number conducted-face-to-face.

This report sets out the results of the fourth survey into public views of policing in England and Wales. These results have also been summarised below.

Get the full report on BMG Research’s website

Public perceptions of policing in England and Wales 2018

This report builds on three years of public surveys commissioned by HMICFRS and carried out by Ipsos MORI:

In 2018 we asked about:


Overall satisfaction with local police force

61% of respondents are satisfied with their local police force. This is an increase from 2017, when it was 53%.

Note: this question was asked a little differently in 2017, which could have affected the results.

Police visibility

Perceptions of police visibility
Respondents who… On foot In vehicle
Think seeing police in local area is important 78% 77%
Have seen police in local area at least once every 3 months 44% 59%
Have not seen police in the last year 36% 20%
Are satisfied with the frequency of visibility 24% 30%

As can be seen in the table above, in 2018 44% reported seeing police on foot in their local area at least once every 3 months. In 2017 this figure was 29%.


The proportion who feel crime and anti-social behaviour is a problem in their local area was 40% in 2018. In 2015 it was 25%.

81% of respondents say they think online crime is a big problem.

The proportion who feel confident in the local police’s ability to deal effectively with online crime is 34%.

Public confidence in police

Emergency – 999
Statement 2018 2017
Effective in dealing with an emergency 74% 71%
Effective in responding to an emergency in a timely manner 65% N/A
Easy to access/speak to for help in an emergency 63% – This is a significant change compared to 2017 73%
Effective in providing protection during a terrorist incident 57% 55%


Non-emergency – 101
Statement 2018 2017
Discreet in using information/intelligence provided by the public 65% N/A
Effective in dealing with a request for advice or information 61% 57%
Effective in using information/intelligence provided by the public 61% N/A
Effective in dealing with a non-emergency 52% – This is a significant change compared to 2017 47%

Police conduct

65% of respondents agree that police in their local area treat people fairly and with respect.

42% believe Stop and Search is used appropriately but 29% don’t know.

Top types of crime respondents think police should prioritise

49% Terrorism/extremism
46% Child sexual exploitation/abuse
41% Violent crime/crime against the person
37% Rape and other sexual offences
34% Serious and organised crime
18% Burglary/theft/stealing

The results from the public perceptions of policing survey inform HMICFRS’s inspections. More information about the methodology is available on our website.

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