A majority (56%) of UK adults say the police do a good job of policing peaceful protests in the UK, according to a new poll by Savanta.
The poll, conducted over Remembrance weekend, while a majority say the police do a good job of policing protests, a third (35%) say they do a bad job.
This compares to the seven in ten (70%) who say the police do a good job of policing large events such as football matches, six in ten (60%) who say they do a good job of investigating major crimes, but only a third (36%) that say they do a good job of being visible locally.
Following a number of protests in the UK over recent weeks following the Israel-Palestine conflict, and comments by senior politicians, including the then-Home Secretary about police tactics regarding such protests, this poll finds the public divided over whether pro-Palestine protests have been policed well, with 41% saying they were policed well and 40% saying they were policed badly.
Broadly these protests are seen as being worse-policed than anti-Brexit protests (46% well, 35% badly), but better-policed than environmental protests, such as those by Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil (39% well, 50% badly).
The then-Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, also made the headlines for comments suggesting police bias against more right-leaning protests, with softer treatment of left-leaning protests.
This poll finds a plurality of the public (34%) say the police have no right- or left-wing bias, although twice as many UK adults say the police have a right-wing bias (26%) than left-wing (12%).
Conservative voters are split on the issue, with them being equally likely to say the police have a right-wing bias (22%) as left-wing (21%).
However, Labour voters are significantly more likely to believe the police have a right-wing biase (36%), with just 8% saying they have a left-wing bias.
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta said, “Following a difficult weekend for policing given the tensions around pro-Palestinian protests disrupting Remembrance weekend, this poll tends to suggest the public believe the police do a fairly good job at policing protests, even if they are divided over their effectiveness at these pro-Palestine demonstrations.”
“It also seems as though the public are out-of-step with Suella Braverman’s suggestion that the police have a left-wing bias, with UK adults more than twice as likely to say police bias is towards the right than the left.”