Public want Lancashire Police to prioritise child abuse and sexual exploitation6 November, 2018
A survey by Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner of 3,000 Lancashire residents has identified tackling child abuse and sexual exploitation as the public’s top priority.
As pressures on the service grow and resources continue to reduce, Clive Grunshaw launched the online survey this summer, visiting every district across the county to ask residents their views on crime and policing priorities to inform his Police and Crime Plan which sets out how the police and community safety partners work together to keep Lancashire safe.
When asked to prioritise a number of competing police issues, 91% of respondents’ ranked tackling child abuse and sexual exploitation as a high priority, closely followed by investigating serious crime (90%), combatting terrorism and extremism (78%) and tackling domestic abuse and violence (72%). Patrolling areas with low levels of crime was only a priority for 8% of respondents.
According to data released by the recent ONS crime survey, overall confidence in Lancashire Police stands at 77%, with 72% of people believing police understand local concerns and 63% of people saying Lancashire Police can be relied on.
Although such public perceptions are encouraging in the wider context of England and Wales, the Commissioner believes public confidence has been damaged by the huge cuts to the service with Lancashire now having 800 fewer officers and 350 fewer police staff than in 2010.
Mr Grunshaw said, “Year-on-year we have less money to deliver policing in Lancashire which is understandably affecting people’s confidence that police will be there for them. Reassuringly though 85% of people in my survey who had been victims of crime reported it to police.
“Many of the people I spoke with over the summer were very sympathetic towards the police and at pains to point out that they don’t blame the police, rather they believe they are doing the best with the resources they have.
“Almost half of people asked thought that all things considered, the police did a good job and more than half would be confident if they approached police with a problem, they would take action.
“With government not providing any extra resources but passing the burden onto council tax payers, growing demand and a further £18m to find by 2022, Lancashire’s police service will continue to have to adapt and with fewer officers and resources it is even more important to ensure that our plans meet operational needs but also public priorities.”
Social media was favoured by 59% of respondents as the way to stay informed about policing of their local area, followed by local media and In the Know – Lancashire Police’s community messaging system.
Mr Grunshaw added: “I’m pleased with the response to the survey and it’s clear from the results the public take a keen interest in the work of Lancashire Police. Improved engagement and communication with communities will go a long way to improving perceptions of the force and understanding of the work being done.
“Overall when members of the public do have a need to contact police, it is reassuring to know that the vast majority of people are satisfied with the service they receive.”
More information on the ONS and Commissioner’s surveys can be be found here.