New research from Ipsos MORI shows that three in ten people (31%) say the Conservatives have the best policies on policing, and for reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. Only 18% think the Labour party has better policies on policing and 16% think this for reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. However, over a third of people say that none of the parties have the best policies or that they simply don’t know.
The Conservative party’s strong suit on reducing crime is even greater among its own supporters: 64% of 2017 Conservative voters think their party has the best policies for reducing crime and antisocial behaviour. Labour’s past voters are less enthusiastic – with only half (48%) saying their party has the best policies to reduce crime.
The public want more bobbies on the beat
Half the public (49%) say that having more police on the beat will do the most to reduce crime in Britain. This is followed by better parenting (28%), better discipline in schools (25%) and more constructive activities for young people (24%).
On a number of measures for reducing crime, there is a stark difference by party affiliation and whether people voted Leave or Remain in the EU referendum:
- Increasing police numbers is important to all groups, but those voting Conservative in 2017 are significantly more likely to say that more police on the streets will reduce crime than 2017 Labour voters (58% vs. 44%).
- Having less social inequality and more constructive activities for young people are seen as the second biggest factors in reducing crime among those who voted for Labour in 2017 (both 28%). Support for these measures also rises among those who think that Labour has better policies for reducing crime. In contrast, among 2017 Conservative voters, just one in ten (10%) see reducing social inequality as a key factor in reducing crime and only 17% say constructive activities for young people will help.
- The Leave/Remain axis also divides people; three in ten (30%) Leavers think capital punishment will help to reduce crime compared with just 14% of Remainers. On the other hand, 31% of Remainers favour rehabilitation programmes compared with 18% of Leavers.
Other findings show:
- Education divides people on whether having less social inequality helps to reduce crime in Britain, with over a third (31%) of graduates saying it is one of the most effective measures compared with 14% of non-graduates.
- Men are significantly more likely to say that more police on the beat is key to help reduce crime (54% vs. 44% of women).
- Those who voted Leave in the 2016 referendum are significantly more likely to view the Conservative party as having the best policies on reducing crime and anti-social behaviour compared with those who voted to Remain (49% vs. 17%).
- Younger people (aged 18-34 years) are more likely to see Labour as having the best policies on reducing crime and anti-social behaviour rather than the Conservatives (27% vs. 17%).
Kully Kaur-Ballagan, Research Director at Ipsos MORI commented: “Beyond Brexit and the NHS, concern over crime will be a key issue for how people decide who to vote for on December 12. The Conservative party is seen as stronger in this area, particularly among its own supporters, whereas Labour’s standing among its own supporters is weaker. At the same time, a third of public are not enamoured with any of the political parties on this issue. In terms of policies to reduce crime, there is widespread support for having more police on the beat. However, beyond this people are divided on the most effective ways to reduce crime – including by whether they voted Leave or Remain- which makes it harder for the main parties to have messages that appeal beyond their core support.”