A new Ipsos MORI survey shows that two in five Brits (42%) say that local police are effective at providing advice and guidance to the public and a similar proportion say they are effective at responding when a member of the public calls (39%). But only around a quarter (23%) say they are effective at protecting those online. On most measures of effectiveness, there has been little change since 2017.
However, people are now significantly less likely to say they would speak highly of the police in their local area compared with three years ago. In 2018, four in ten 10 (40%) Britons said they would speak highly of their local law enforcement, now only 29% feel the same way. Although, there has been no change in the proportion of people who would be critical of local police; 17% now compared with 18% in 2018.
On some aspects of local policing, ethnic minorities are more positive than White people; around half of ethnic minorities (53%) say that police in their local area are effective at providing advice to the public and responding when a member of the public calls (49%), compared with 40% and 37% of White people respectively. Ethnic minorities are also more likely than White people to see local police as being effective at preventing and investigating offending, as well as protecting those who are online.
Overall, the public is fairly positive about the characteristics of local police – around half say they are trustworthy (52%), competent (50%), fair in how they treat people (49%) and honest (49%). Around one in six think they are lazy (16%), sexist (15%) or racist (14%).
However, ethnic minorities are significantly more likely to view police officers in their area as being racist than White people; three in ten (31%) ethnic minority people say that the police in their area are, on the whole, racist, compared to only one in 10 (12%) White people.