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East Anglia Future 50

Number of rural dwellers who believe police do a good job plummets, survey finds

PUBLISHED: 09:06 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:26 23 July 2018

Rural dwellers are far less happy about policing than their urban counterparts, a survey suggests Picture: GREGG BROWN

Rural dwellers are far less happy about policing than their urban counterparts, a survey suggests Picture: GREGG BROWN

The perception of policing among England and Wales’ rural communities is far worse than in urban areas, a survey suggests.

National Rural Crime Network chair Julia Mulligan Picture: NATIONAL RURAL CRIME NETWORKNational Rural Crime Network chair Julia Mulligan Picture: NATIONAL RURAL CRIME NETWORK

A total of 20,000 people responded to the 2018 National Rural Crime Survey, organised by the National Rural Crime Network - the third of its kind.

It found the perception of policing in rural communities is poor, and much worse than in urban areas, with the proportion who believe local police do a good job 11% lower than in 2015 at 27%. This is dramatically lower than the national figure from the Crime Survey of England and Wales which found 62% of respondents rate the police in their area as good or excellent.

The proportion rating local police as good or excellent at crime prevention and reduction was 11% lower than in 2015.

However, the response pattern to the survey was uneven, with by far the highest response from North Yorkshire (2,514). Fourth highest was Essex (1,320) and in Suffolk just 168 people responded, the 30th highest, compared to 322 responses from Cambridgeshire and 106 from Norfolk.

Fly-tipping and speeding dominated the list of concerns with 57% seeing evidence of flytipping and 32% evidence of speeding in their communities in the last 12 months. While most respondents knew councils are responsible for fly-tipping, there was a clear view that not enough is being done and that councils can no longer cope given their financial constraints, the report found.

Crime, and the fear of crime, was leading to emotional strain and a loss of confidence, particularly among young people, families and farmers, the study found. A third of rural people believed crime has a moderate or great impact on their lives.

Farmers and rural-specific businesses were living with, and in fear of, crime, with 69% of farmers and rural-specific business owners which took part in the survey saying they had been a victim of crime over the past 12 months with 60% saying they were fairly or very worried about becoming a victim of crime in the future.

National Rural Crime Network chair Julia Mulligan said: “These results are stark and worrying. Crime is up. Anger is up. Frustration is up. Trust is down.

“Those rating the police as good is down. With 10.3m people living in rural areas, these are trends we can no longer ignore.”

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