Cuts blamed as confidence in police falls for first time in years

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The proportion of adults who believe their local police are doing a good job has dipped for the first time in a decade, official data has revealed.

Figures in the Crime Survey for England and Wales 2012/13 show 61 per cent of people gave positive ratings for local officers, compared to 62 per cent the previous year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Yorkshire forces scored slightly worse than average on how they were perceived, while the rating for Humberside Police was the worst in the country. The drop signals the end of a decade of year-on-year growth in the proportion of adults who report their area’s police as doing a good or excellent job, the ONS said.

And when the ratings measures are broken down further, an increase was revealed in those who thought the police were doing a “very poor” job when compared to the previous year, from 1.8 per cent to 2.2 per cent.

The ONS said the proportion of adults who reported seeing a police officer on foot patrol in their local area at least once a week dropped to 34 per cent from 38 per cent. High visibility was associated with positive ratings of the police, the ONS added.

Of the four Yorkshire police forces, Humberside had the lowest rating from local residents. Only 52 per cent said police in the East Riding and Hull did a good or excellent job, the worst rating in the country.

North Yorkshire had a rating of 64 per cent, while South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire scored 59 and 62 respectively and the Yorkshire region had an average of 60 per cent.

Humberside also scored below average for whether police ‘deal with local concerns’, with only 55 per cent of people agreeing this was the case.

In South Yorkshire, just 54 per cent agreed, while the rate was 59 per cent in West Yorkshire and 64 per cent in North Yorkshire, compared to a national average of 60 per cent.

Humberside Police’s Deputy Chief Constable David Griffin said: “Providing an excellent service to the public is a key priority for Humberside Police. Our local survey data tends to present a much more positive picture of how our public perceive the force.

“We are given to understand that changes to the way in which the survey questions have had some impact on our most recent results. We are currently working on a significant restructure and reconfiguration of how the force provides its service to the public.

“The ethos of these changes will be to deal with calls from the public more effectively and free up our officers and staff to deliver better service, especially to victims of crime. These changes will be implemented from October of this year onwards.”

Responding to North Yorkshire’s better than average scores, Dave Horn, deputy secretary of the local Police Federation, said: “I know the police and crime commissioner does a lot of hard work going to different meetings and listening to what the public are saying. That is fed into the police itself and we do listen.

“We have a lot people working for North Yorkshire Police who live in North Yorkshire so they are serving the community they live in and have a real understanding of what people want.”

Police Federation of England and Wales vice chair Steve Evans said: “In our recent Ipsos MORI survey, 93% of participants said the number of police officers was important in affecting how good a job the police can do. The service has lost more than 15,000 officers since the coalition Government came into power and cuts began, which has had a detrimental effect on frontline policing.”