Public views of policing in England and Wales 2017/18

Published on: 28 December 2017

Publication types: Data and PEEL methodology

Police Forces: All local forces in England and Wales


In 2015, Ipsos MORI published the results of a survey, commissioned by HMICFRS, into public perceptions of policing in England and Wales. A follow-up survey was published in 2016.

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

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Go to Feeing safeGo to Local policingGo to Priorities

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Public views of policing in England and Wales 2017/18

Main findings

Feeling safe

71% perceived the police to be effective at responding to emergencies

Most participants (71%) perceived the police to be effective at responding to emergencies.

More than half of those surveyed (57 percent) said that crime and anti-social behaviour in their local area was “not much of a problem”.

However, they said it was a bigger problem than in 2016 or 2015 (30% of participants in 2017, compared with 26% in 2016 and 25% in 2015). A larger proportion said it was now more of a problem than it was a year ago (23% compared with 17% in 2016 and 15% in 2015).

Participants were asked which organisations had the greatest responsibility for ensuring the ongoing safety of different groups of people.

70% think victims of harassment and stalking 48% think victims of domestic abuse60% think missing people

Local police forces were identified as having greatest responsibility for three groups:

  • victims of harassment and stalking (70% of respondents);
  • missing people (60% of respondents); and
  • victims of domestic violence (48% of respondents).

Just 3% of participants said they thought local police forces were the organisations which had greatest responsibility for people with mental health problems.

Local policing

Over 50% were satisfied with local policing

Just over half of the people surveyed were satisfied overall with local policing.

60% thought service level was unchanged 60% of respondents said that the service is unchanged since last year.

However, 25% said the service had got worse (compared with 20% in 2016 and 18% in 2015).

83% thought a uniformed presence was important83% of respondents felt that it was important to have a regular, uniformed police presence in the local area.

Only 17% felt that there was a regular police presence in their areaHowever, just 17% of respondents felt that there was a regular police presence in their local area.

An increasing proportion said they had not seen a uniformed police presence on foot in their local area in the past year (44% compared with 41% in 2016 and 36% in 2015).


Respondents identified what they thought were the top priorities for the police. These priorities are similar to 2016, although the proportion of those saying ‘countering terrorism and extremism’ has risen from 48% in 2016 to 56% in 2017.

The priorities identified were:

  1. responding in person to emergencies
  2. tackling crime of all types
  3. countering terrorism and extremism
  4. a local uniformed police presence on foot.

Online crime is perceived to be a problem by the majority of participants (73%), although this is a lower proportion than in 2016 when 82% said it was a problem.

Tackling online crime was highlighted by a slightly higher proportion of participants as one of the top three services the police should prioritise (17% compared with 13% in 2016).

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

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Public views of policing in England and Wales 2017/18

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