The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW, formerly known as the British Crime Survey) is a face-to-face victimisation survey in which people are asked about their experiences of crime in the last 12 months. In addition, respondents are asked about their attitudes to different crime or policing related issues.
For example, the CSEW has always included measures of public perceptions of the police. These questions have ranged from ratings of how good a job the local police do, to perceptions of specific aspects of policing, to awareness of new initiatives such as online crime maps.
This bulletin explores:
Public attitudes towards the police in general.
Perceptions of local police performance.
How visible the police are to the public.
Awareness of Neighbourhood Policing teams.
Attendance at local police beat meetings.
Awareness and use of online crime maps.
Various aspects of engagement with the police and crime fighting.
The survey questions analysed here can be found in the 2011/12 CSEW questionnaire, available from the Crime Statistics Methodology webpage. Previous findings on these topics were reported in Scribbins and Flatley (2010); and in Moon and Flatley (2011). Since January 2009 interviews have been carried out separately with children aged 10 to 15, and this bulletin includes estimates for this age group.
In 2003 Neighbourhood Policing was piloted, a policy which emphasised targeted foot patrol, community engagement, and effective problem-solving (Rix et al., 2009). Neighbourhood Policing sought to build on the Community Policing models of the 1980s and 1990s which were designed to improve community relations through more interaction with the public and crime prevention advice.
A number of forces adopted Neighbourhood Policing from around 2004 before it was rolled out to all forces between 2005 and 2008 as part of a national strategy in which the then Government pledged that “there will be a Neighbourhood Policing team in every area, covering, typically, one or two council wards, in which every resident will know the name of their local police officer, see them on the street and have their phone number and email address.” (Charles Clarke, Home Secretary, Hansard, col 1132, 13 February 2006).
More recently, academic models based on ‘procedural justice theory’ have emphasised the need for the police to build trust and legitimacy by being seen to treat people with respect, to make fair decisions, and to take the time to explain these decisions (Myhill and Quinton, 2011). The CSEW allows measurement of foot patrol visibility, as well as perceptions of fairness and respect in policing. This first section of the bulletin explores those topics alongside a wide range of police perception measures.
The CSEW has measured respondents, ratings of the police in their local area since the survey began in 1982. All respondents are asked: ‘taking everything into account, how good a job do you think the police in this area are doing?’ Analysis of the 2011/12 survey showed that:
Based on the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) 62 per cent of adults thought the local police were doing a good or excellent job. One in ten adults (10 per cent) in England and Wales thought the local police were doing an excellent job, and a further 52 per cent thought they were doing a good job.
Three in ten adults (30 per cent) thought the police were doing a fair job; and fewer than one in ten thought they were doing a poor or very poor job (6 and 2 per cent respectively). Appendix Table A1 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) shows the full breakdown of these responses since 2003/04.
Figure 1 shows ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ ratings over the period 2003/04 to 2011/12. Caution must be exercised when comparing 2011/12 results to those of previous years as removal of questions that preceded this one in the CSEW questionnaire appear to have led to an increase in positive responses from April 20111.
Notwithstanding this change, there has been a clear upward trend in ratings of local police since 2003/04. The proportion of adults who thought the police were doing a good or excellent job increased by 11 percentage points between 2003/04 and 2010/11, from just over 47 to just under 59 per cent. This pattern is visible in both the proportions of adults who said the police were ‘excellent’ and those rating them ‘good’.
This contrasts with the declining trend seen between the 1982 and 2002/03 surveys when adults were simply asked whether the police did a good or poor job2. Over that period the proportion of adults rating their local police as ‘fair’ fluctuated, while the proportions of people rating them ‘poor’ increased.
The change in question wording in 2003/04 means that these two periods cannot be compared directly. However, although ratings of the police had decreased consistently prior to the change, the increase since has been consistent with other measures of police perceptions presented in the next section. The change in trend is therefore not thought to be simply a result of a wording change.
There is no broadly accepted explanation of the changes in ratings of the police over time. Falling ratings of the police from the 1970s to the mid-2000s have been explained in many ways, such as changes to the ethos of policing, or police involvement in public unrest or corruption cases, as well as increases in crime (Jackson et al., 2009).
Previous analysis shows that personal and area characteristics, such as gender or urbanicity, only explain a small amount of variation in public perceptions of the police (for example, see analysis in Thorpe, 2009 of perceptions of police and local councils tackling crime issues). From the 2011/12 survey, however, a number of differences were apparent.
The police were less likely to be rated favourably by those aged 16-24 (59 per cent saying they did a good or excellent job) and more likely to be so by those aged 75 or more (69 per cent). Adults aged 45-64 (60 per cent) were also less likely than average (62 per cent) to rate their local police favourably.
There was little difference in perceptions between white and non-white adults overall. However, there were some variations across specific ethnic groups, with for example a lower proportion of respondents who defined themselves as black or black British giving positive ratings (57 per cent) of their local police compared with some other ethnic groups.
Lower than average positive ratings of the police were also given by the unemployed (57 per cent), the long-term or temporarily ill (53 per cent), and adults who were in the ‘other inactive3’ category (53 per cent).
Those living in the most deprived areas gave the police lower than average positive ratings (56 per cent); but there were no overall differences between adults residing in urban and rural areas. See Appendix Tables A8 to A9 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) for how ratings of the police varied by personal and area characteristics.
For more information, see the ‘methodological note on the possible order effect on responses to questions on attitudes to the police and criminal justice system arising from changes in the CSEW questionnaire’ published as alongside this statistical bulletin.
Data for this earlier period are available in Table 1.01 and Figure 1.1 of Scribbins and Flatley, 2011.
Other inactive' includes people who are waiting for results of a job application, believe no jobs are available, are not in need of a job, or have not yet started looking for a job.
In October 2004 a set of seven questions was added to the CSEW to measure perceptions of the local police. The last question asks if respondents agree with the statement ‘taking everything into account I have confidence in the police in this area‘. The most recent estimates are shown in Figure 21.
In general, the 2011/12 CSEW showed high levels of agreement across all aspects of police performance and behaviour. There were high levels of agreement that the police treat people with respect (86 per cent), but fewer people agreed that the police treat people fairly (67 per cent).
A recent assessment of evidence on police perceptions by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) found perceptions of police treating people fairly and with respect to be key factors in whether the police are seen as legitimate, and in turn is a key factor in how much the public co-operate with the police (Myhill and Quinton, 2011).
Questions about the police making fair and impartial decisions in the 2010 European Social Survey put the UK in the group of countries with the highest levels of perceived fairness, alongside other North European countries such as Sweden (Jackson et al. 2011).
The 2011/12 survey showed a high proportion of adults were confident that the police understand local issues that affect the community (72 per cent), but a lower proportion agreed that the police deal with things that matter to the people in their community (62 per cent). The aspect that the lowest proportion agreed with was whether the police can be relied on when needed (59 per cent).
Similar proportions of adults who agreed with each statement thought the police were doing a good or excellent job. This suggests these questions tap into a single general attitude towards the police, rather than a set of different attitudes. It can also be said that people think somewhat more favourably about police intentions and police values, than about police effectiveness in catching criminals or ability to respond to local needs. A full breakdown of responses to these questions since 2004/05 is shown in Table 1.
|Statistically significant change|
|2004/05 1||2005/06||2006/07||2007/08||2008/09||2009/10||2010/11 2||2011/12 2||2010/11 - 2011/12 2||2004/05 - 2011/12|
|Police can be relied on when needed||44||47||47||48||48||50||54||59||*||*|
|Police would treat you with respect||81||82||83||83||84||84||85||86||*||*|
|Police would treat you fairly||63||63||62||64||65||65||67||67||*|
|Police can be relied on to deal with minor crimes 3||41||42||41||43||46||48||49||-||n/a||n/a|
|Police understand local concerns||60||60||60||62||65||67||67||72||*||*|
|Police deal with local concerns||48||49||49||51||54||56||58||62||*||*|
|Overall confidence in local police||55||63||64||65||67||69||72||75||*||*|
Comparing the 2011/12 perceptions estimates with those of previous years should be done with caution. In addition to the problem which affected the ratings of the local police question, the removal of one of the questions appears to have affected subsequent questions; most notably that about police understanding issues that affect the local community1. However, some patterns can be discerned that are not due to changes in questionnaire design, including:
The proportions of adults thinking the police treat people with respect and fairly have risen less than other indicators over the whole period.
The proportion of adults agreeing that they have overall confidence in the police increased, from 55 per cent in the 2004/05 CSEW to 72 per cent in the 2010/11 survey.
Estimates from the 2011/12 CSEW of police force area perceptions of police dealing with local concerns were previously published alongside ratings of the police as Police Force Area data table P12 of Crime Statistics, period ending March 2012. Appendix Tables A6 to A7 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) show how perceptions of the local police vary by personal and area characteristics in the 2011/12 CSEW. It can be seen that there were similar variations to those already described for ratings of the police. Other findings included:
Single adult and child households showed lower than average scores across all perception measures, apart from being able to rely on the police when needed.
Those who were aware of Neighbourhood Policing gave police higher than average scores across most perception measures.
For details of this and related changes, see the ‘methodological note on the possible order effect on responses to questions on attitudes to the police and criminal justice system arising from changes in the CSEW questionnaire’ published alongside this statistical bulletin.
The CSEW includes a number of questions which ask respondents about their perceptions of the police service in general as opposed to just the police in their local area. New questions were introduced in the 2011/12 survey which ask about specific aspects of police behaviour and were designed to provide some measure of how legitimate people feel the police to be. Figure 3 presents the first set of estimates from these new questions.
Findings from the 2011/12 CSEW showed that:
Six in ten adults (61 per cent) agreed that ‘it is always your duty to accept the decisions made by the police.
Three quarters (76 per cent) agreed that ‘the police usually act in ways that are consistent with my own ideas of right and wrong.
Around nine in ten (89 per cent) agreed that ‘when the police deal with people in my neighbourhood they always behave according to the law’.
It is argued (for example in Jackson et al., 2012) that a legitimate, trusted police system can benefit from a public who are less likely to commit crime, and more likely to report, and even help to solve crimes (as information volunteered by the public is the source of most crime detections, (Jansson 2005, in Myhill; and Quniton 2011).
The CSEW results are in line with responses to similar questions asked in the European Social Survey in 2010 (Figure 6 of Jackson et al., 2011). The proportion of adults who agreed that obeying the police is a duty varied substantially across Europe, with the UK roughly in the middle, and mostly Scandinavian countries at the top of the scale.
In the UK, as in many other countries, a higher proportion of people agreed that ‘the police have the same sense of right and wrong as me’ than agreed to the statement about having a duty to obey. Other findings from the European Social Survey showed that relatively fewer people in the UK thought that the police took bribes than in most European countries, (with the exception of Northern European countries where even fewer people thought their police took bribes).
Since 2010/11, CSEW respondents have been asked ‘how confident are you that the police are effective at catching criminals?’ The findings, presented in Appendix Table A2 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) , show that in 2011/12:
Two out of three adults in England and Wales (67 per cent) were confident that the police are effective at catching criminals.
6 per cent were not at all confident that the police are effective in catching criminals.
The proportion of adults who were very confident increased to 10 per cent, from the 8 per cent in the 2010/11 survey. There was a small (half percentage point) decrease in the proportion of adults who said they were not at all confident that the police are not effective at catching criminals.
Taken together, these findings suggest that a large majority of adults in England and Wales saw the police as being legitimate. However, a smaller majority felt the police are effective at catching criminals.
Since January 2009, children aged 10 to 15 resident in households interviewed in the main CSEW have been included in the survey. They have also been asked a smaller, but similarly worded, set of questions on attitudes towards crime and criminal justice1. The broadest of these was ‘what is your opinion of the police in your local area?’ Overall 54 per cent of children in the 2011/12 survey said they had a ‘positive’ opinion of the local police, more than 10 times the proportion stating a negative opinion (5 per cent).
It is not possible to compare these responses with those from the questions asked of adults, which do not have a ‘neutral’ response category. Figure 4 shows the proportions of 10 to 15 year olds estimated to be positive about each police question asked about in the survey.
Findings from the 10 to 15s survey include:
In 2011/12 agreement varied from 89 per cent for ‘the police will help you if you need them’ to 44 per cent agreeing that ‘police treat young people the same as adults’.
The proportion of 10 to 15s feeling positive about their local police increased from 48 per cent in 2009/10, to 54 per cent in 2011/12; but there was no statistically significant change between 2010/11 and 2011/12.
There were no statistically significant changes in any of the other perception measures between 2009/10 and 2011/12 ( Appendix Table A3 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) ).
Several of these questions are similar to those asked of adults but, as the question wording is not the same, estimates are not directly comparable.
For more information see the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales, and Crime in England Wales, period ending June 2012.
A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has shown that between December 2010 and February 2012 in England and Wales the number of police officers in visible roles decreased by 5,500 officers (HMIC, 2012). This represented a small decrease, from 61 per cent of total police strength to 60 per cent. The report suggests, however, that this change has not been noticeable to the public.
Findings from the 2011/12 CSEW show that over half of adults in England and Wales (55 per cent) said that they had seen police officers or PCSOs on foot patrol in their local area at least once a month. Appendix Table A4 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) breaks responses down to the greatest level of detail, and shows that:
Around one in four adults (26 per cent) saw police patrols ‘about once a week’.
One in ten (9 per cent) saw patrols once a day, and a small proportion (3 per cent) more than once a day.
A further one in six (17 per cent) saw the police ‘about once a month’, just under one in five (19 per cent) less than once a month.
One in four (26 per cent) said that they never saw the police in their local area.
Figure 5 shows these responses grouped. Some 38 per cent of adults reported seeing the police in their local area about once a week or more (high visibility). A similar proportion, (36 per cent), reported seeing the police about once a month or less than once a month (medium visibility); the remaining 26 per cent never saw police patrols in the past 12 months (low visibility).
Figure 5 shows a steady increase in the proportions of adults reporting high visibility of police officers or PCSOs on foot patrol in their local area between 2006/07 and 2009/10 (from 26 to 39 per cent). This was almost mirrored by a corresponding decrease in those reporting low visibility (from 40 to 27 per cent).
The proportion of adults reporting medium visibility remained largely unchanged over the same period. This pattern might reflect the roll out of Neighbourhood Policing and the increased emphasis on improving police foot patrol visibility. Levels of visibility over the last three years have been broadly stable.
An additional question asked whether respondents had noticed any change in the frequency of foot patrols in the past two years. Forty per cent stated that they saw no change in frequency. One in four (26 per cent) adults felt they saw foot patrols more often compared with two years ago while 12 per cent reported seeing them less often1.
Previous analysis of the 2009/10 CSEW has shown that the frequency with which respondents had seen the local police varied with personal, and household or area characteristics. For example, younger people and those living in the most deprived areas (based on crime deprivation) were much more likely to have seen an officer on foot patrol at least once a month than older people or those in the least deprived areas (Tables 2.02 and 2.03 of Scribbins et al. (2010).
The remaining 22 per cent were not able to state an opinion on the change in foot patrols.
Since 2009/10, 10 to-15 year olds have been asked a variety of questions about how often they see the police1, in particular in or around schools. Figure 6 shows the latest levels for the main visibility measures, while Appendix Table A5 shows responses to all visibility questions over three years.
The Safer Schools Partnership programme has been running for a number of years with local Neighbourhood Policing teams working with schools and other local agencies to reduce crime and to create a safe environment for children to learn in. The 2011/12 CSEW indicates that:
Over half of 10 to 15 year olds (57 per cent) had seen a police officer or PCSO in school in the past 12 months; and 53 per cent had seen them in the areas around their school.
These two groups overlap, and 18 per cent had not seen a police officer or PCSOs in or around their school in the past 12 months.
Two-thirds of children had seen a police officer or PCSO in their local area in the past 12 months (67 per cent); leaving a third (33 per cent) who had not seen them. This is a higher proportion than that for adults, 26 per cent of whom reported never seeing police in their local area.
Appendix Table A5 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) shows that there have been few statistically significant changes over the period for which data are available, and visibility of the police to 10-15 year olds has been broadly stable since 2009/10.
All measures used here cover PCSOs as well as police officers.
This section looks at the relationship between perceptions of the police and visibility of officers, and also explores other factors likely to influence public perceptions. Figure 7 shows how adults in each visibility group rate their local police.
Figure 7 shows that adults who reported low visibility of police or PCSO foot patrols in their local area were roughly just as likely to rate the police positively (good or excellent; 51 per cent) as negatively (fair, poor or very poor; 49 per cent). In contrast, those who reported high visibility were more than twice as likely to rate them positively (68 per cent) than negatively.
A secondary analysis of CSEW data has concluded that confidence in the police was driven less by levels of crime, or fear of crime, than by “concerns about disorder, cohesion and informal social control” (Jackson et al., 2009, p1). Appendix Table A9 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) shows that adults who perceived a high level of crime or anti-social behaviour (ASB) locally had lower than average ratings (at 43 and 47 per cent respectively). This also appears to hold true for other police perceptions measures.
Of all the characteristics shown in Appendix Tables A6 and A7 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) , the largest variation in overall confidence in the police came from those people with different perceptions of the crime rate in their local area, not between victims and non-victims. This supports the idea that the public judge the police on the basis of wider social order issues more than just crime or the fear of crime alone.
Another academic study analysing CSEW data concluded that “perceptions of crime, perceptions of disorder, and rates of property crime are the strongest predictors of the level of public confidence in the police” (Sindall et al., 2012, p758).
The Neighbourhood Policing model is built on the idea that the main police activity that feeds through to perceptions is high-quality contact with the public and being seen to treat people fairly and with respect. A recent review of evidence supports this idea (Myhill and Beak, 2008).
There is also some evidence that public engagement is more important than visibility in increasing confidence (Rix et al., 2009, Wentz and Schlimgen, 2012) and can improve the perceptions of a local area that, in turn, feed into police perceptions (Jackson et al., 2009). The next section explores public engagement with the police in more detail, looking at awareness and uptake of relatively new initiatives such as online crime maps and neighbourhood beat meetings.
The national roll out of Neighbourhood Policing placed a stronger emphasis on community engagement, and effective problem-solving (Rix et al., 2009). The CSEW includes questions on a wide range of information about local police and community engagement, including questions relating to contact with the police about local issues and people’s involvement in local crime prevention schemes (such as Neighbourhood Watch)1.
This section presents findings on engagement with local police, in terms of attending beat meetings, contacting the police in a non-emergency and the awareness and use of online local crime maps. Findings from measures of social cohesion, covering Neighbourhood Watch membership and willingness of others to intervene when faced with anti-social behaviour (ASB) are also presented in this section.
The survey questions analysed here can be found in the 2011/12 CSEW questionnaire, available from the Crime Statistics Methodology webpage.
Neighbourhood Policing emphasises a local approach to policing that is accessible to the public and responsive to the needs and priorities of neighbourhoods. Key elements include the presence of visible, accessible and locally known police officers and PCSOs in neighbourhoods and community engagement in the setting and tackling of priorities associated with public concerns in neighbourhoods.
Since April 2008, every neighbourhood in England and Wales has operated a Neighbourhood Policing model in which local policing teams work closely with communities and local agencies to identify and respond to local concerns. Neighbourhood Policing, including Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), continue to receive central Government funding via the Neighbourhood Policing Fund until April 2013, after which time, decisions on the funding and resourcing of Neighbourhood Policing will lie with individual Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), who were elected in November 20121.
Questions about the public’s awareness of local Neighbourhood Policing team have been included in the CSEW since April 2009. The latest figures from the 2011/12 CSEW show a similar level of awareness as the previous year (the apparent 1 percentage point reduction was not statistically significant). Awareness of Neighbourhood Policing teams increased between the 2009/10 and 2010/11 surveys (rising from 39 per cent to 44 per cent of adults) and is consistent with the rise in police visibility described earlier.
|Aware of local Neighbourhood Policing team||39||441||43|
As with the 2010/11 survey, the latest figures showed that awareness of Neighbourhood Policing teams varied with personal, household and area characteristics ( Appendix Tables A10-11 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) ). For example, awareness was highest amongst those aged 45 to 74 and lowest amongst the youngest and oldest age-groups.
Those who rented their home privately (34 per cent) were less likely to be aware than owner occupiers (46 per cent) or those living in social housing (42 per cent). This may reflect the fact that young adults and those who rent are likely to have lived in their neighbourhood for a shorter time than the middle-aged and home owners, which could have an effect on awareness of Neighbourhood Policing teams.
The findings from the 2011/12 CSEW also showed that adults living in households with a total income above £50,000 and those with higher qualifications had higher level of awareness of Neighbourhood Policing teams. For example2:
Almost half (48 per cent) of people with a degree or diploma were aware of Neighbourhood Policing teams in their local area compared with 35 per cent for those without any formal educational qualifications.
Half of adults living in households with a total gross income of £50,000 or more were aware of Neighbourhood Policing teams, compared with 39 per cent of those resident in households with a total income of under £10,000.
Retired adults were more likely (46 per cent) to be aware of Neighbourhood Policing teams than full-time students (32 per cent). This finding may seem to conflict with the conclusion above that awareness was lowest among the older age groups (75 years and above). However, it is possible that there is greater awareness of Neighbourhood Policing teams among the young retired, aged 74 and below.
Adults living in households in rural areas were more likely (46 per cent) to be aware of Neighbourhood Policing Teams than those living in urban areas (43 per cent). This is a statistically significant difference not found in the 2009/10 survey, the last time these figures were reported (when 39 per cent of people in both types of area said that they were aware of such teams).
Elections were held in all police force areas in England and Wales, except in London, where the mayor of London has taken on the powers of a PCC in relation to the Metropolitan Police.
A full breakdown of awareness of neighbourhood policing teams by personal, household and area characteristics using the 2011/12 CSEW can be found in the appendix. Many of these characteristics will be closely associated (for example, marital status and age) so caution is needed in the interpretation of the effects of these different characteristics when viewed in isolation.
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (2011)1 has made it a statutory requirement for Chief Officers to hold regular meetings for people within the neighbourhood to meet officers responsible for policing in that neighbourhood. These are called ‘beat meetings’ or ‘panel meetings’. The aim of these meetings is to give the public a forum to feed in their views on local policing priorities and give communities more opportunity to hold the police in their area to account.
In the 2011/12 CSEW, a new question was introduced to find out whether respondents had attended a beat meeting in the last 12 months. Findings for this question show that three per cent of adults said that they had attended one of these meetings in the last year, equating to around 1.5 million people2.
There was not much variation in attendance at beat meetings by personal, household and area characteristics ( Appendix Tables A12-13 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) ). However, those in the youngest age groups were less likely than those in the middle and older age groups to have attended a beat meeting in the last 12 months; four per cent of adults aged between 45 and 64 age groups and five percent in those aged 65 or over had attended a beat meeting, compared with one per cent in the 16 to 24 age group.
As expected, respondents who had heard of a Neighbourhood Policing team in their area were much more likely to have attended a beat meeting (seven per cent compared with one per cent). In addition, adults living in owner occupied accommodation or in social housing were twice as likely (four per cent) as those who lived in privately rented accommodation privately (two per cent) to have attended a beat meeting.
There are a number of ways in which the police can provide information to the public aside from attending local police beat meetings. The development of online crime maps, showing what is happening to crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) at a local level, is another way to encourage public engagement, by making more information easily accessible to the public.
Under the previous administration, police forces were encouraged to publish local crime statistics on their websites. Many forces supplemented this information with maps showing crime rates by area. In addition, ward level maps showing crime rates were also made available through a central portal hosted by the NPIA.
The current Government extended this initiative by requiring all police forces from January 2011 to supply this data to a central portal1.
Questions about use and awareness of crime maps have been included in the CSEW since 2009/10. The original question asked about awareness and use of 'interactive crime maps which show crime levels in your local neighbourhood'.
This question was updated to take account of the roll out of street-level crime maps in January 2011 as part of the preparation of the questionnaire for the new survey year stating in April 2011 (see ‘Data sources – further information’ section for details). However, it is likely that those interviewed in the final quarter of the 2010/11 survey year did not distinguish between the old and new style crime maps when answering this question.
Following the launch of the more detailed street level crime maps, the survey showed a large rise in the proportion of adults saying that they were aware and had used crime maps, as evident in Figure 8. The 2011/12 CSEW showed that around a third (32 per cent) of adults were aware of crime maps and 11 per cent had looked at or used them in the last 12 months.
This compared with ten per cent of adults being aware and three per cent of adults using crime maps in the 2009/10 survey and similar levels in the three quarters of the 2011/12 survey, prior to the launch of the street level maps.
These increases follow a large jump in the proportion of awareness and use of crime maps between October to December 2010 and January to March 2011. This is likely to be as a result of increased publicity following the roll out of street-level crime maps in January 2011.
As expected, and consistent with previous findings, the 2011/12 survey showed that adults in employment and people with higher qualifications were more likely to be aware of online crime maps than economically inactive adults2 and those with no formal qualifications:
Adults with a degree or diploma were around three times more likely (44 per cent) than those with no formal qualification (14 per cent) to be aware of crime maps.
The employed were more likely (39 per cent) to know about crime maps than the economically inactive (21 per cent).
Adults from non-white ethnic backgrounds were less likely (23 per cent) to be aware of crime maps than those from white ethnic backgrounds (33 per cent). Awareness was lowest for those aged 75 years and over (9 per cent), followed by adults aged 16-24 (27 per cent) and 65-75 (37 per cent). Adults in the middle age groups (between 25 and 64 years) were most likely to be aware of crime maps.
A similar pattern of characteristics was seen for use of crime maps in the last year. Specifically, those in the 16-24 age groups (13 per cent) were around much more likely to have used crime maps than those in the 75 and over age group (1 per cent). In addition, those who were a victim of crime in the last 12 months were more likely (13 per cent) to have used crime maps than those who had not been a victim of crime (10 per cent) in the last year, although it is not possible to say whether the crime maps were used by the respondent before or after becoming a victim of crime.
Men were both more likely to be aware of (37 per cent), and to have used (14 per cent), crime maps than women (27 per cent and 9 per cent respectively).
Overall, awareness of crime maps was highest in middle-age groups and in more affluent and rural areas (as indicated by urban/rural and disorder indicators, and the deprivation index). This pattern is also reflected in usage levels. Appendix Tables A14-15 for further breakdown by demographic characteristics.
From May 2012, online crime maps also show police actions taken in response to crimes committed and justice outcomes, where available.
‘Economically inactive’ is defined as those who are retired; going to school or college full-time; looking after home/family; are temporarily or permanently sick; or doing something else.
Since April 2009, the CSEW has asked about other aspects of the Neighbourhood Policing model, including questions about the accessibility of the local police and about the public’s contact with the police about local policing issues.
Findings from the 2011/12 CSEW showed that 59 per cent of adults said that they knew how to contact police about non-emergency policing issues, including by phone, at meetings and online. This represented an increase from 57 per cent in the 2010/11 survey and 54 per cent in 2009/10.
In 2006, a three-digit, non-emergency number (101) was piloted in England and Wales. Using lessons learned from the pilot, alongside wider evidence, the 101 service was redesigned. Unlike the pilot 101 number, the new 101 service was set up as a single, memorable police-only non-emergency number. The 101 number replaced the variety of different numbers operated by individual police forces, aiming to reduce pressure on the emergency services. A phased roll-out for 101 began in July 2011 and all forces were using 101 by mid-December 2011.
New questions were added to the 2011/12 CSEW to find out whether people knew about the 101 telephone number and, if so, whether they had used it in the last 12 months. Over the course of the year, levels of awareness grew. Forces rolled out the 101 number at different times during 2011/12 and therefore, it is unsurprising that awareness of 101 increased during the year.
Results from January to March 2012 showed that 43 per cent of adults were aware of 101, a statistically significant rise on the previous quarter of October to December 2011 (32 per cent). As might be expected, the rise in levels of the use of 101 over the year was less marked (rising from five per cent of adults having done in April to June 2011 to 11 per cent in January to March 2012).
Monthly figures presented in a research report published by the Home Office showed a steady increase in the number of calls made to 101, from around 75,000 in March 2011 to 1.3 million in June 2012 (McKenna et al, 2012). This is consistent with both the continued roll out of 101 during 2011/12, and a rise in awareness of 101 as measured by the CSEW shown in figure 9.
In the full year 2011/12, 30 per cent of people were aware of the 101 telephone number and, of the people who were aware, 8 per cent had used it. Awareness of the 101 telephone number varied with a number of personal, household and area characteristics ( Appendix Tables A16-17 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) ). Men, those with higher qualifications, older people and adults from a white ethnic background were more likely to be aware of 101:
Those with higher qualifications (degree or diploma) were more likely (31 per cent) to have heard of 101, compared with those with no qualifications (21 per cent).
Men were more likely (32 per cent) to have heard of 101 than women (27 per cent).
The 16-24 age group were less likely (25 per cent) to have heard of 101 compared with older age groups, for example over 75s (31 per cent).
Adults from a white ethnic background were more likely to know about 101 (30 per cent) compared with those from non-white ethnic backgrounds (24 per cent).
Of the adults that were aware of and had used the 101 telephone number, use was generally higher among younger people; those in the 16 to 24 age group were more than three times as likely (11 per cent) to have used 101, compared with the 75 and over age group (3 per cent).
Adults living in households in the most deprived areas were more likely to have used 101 (11 per cent) compared with those living in the least deprived areas (5 per cent), but those living in the most deprived areas were less likely to know about 101 (25 per cent) than those from the least deprived areas (31 per cent). In addition, adults living in owner occupied accommodation were more likely (32 per cent) to know about 101, than those renting their home privately (26 per cent) or living in social accommodation (27 per cent).
For more detail on the background to, and roll-out of the 101 number, see Ray et al (2012).
Following on from awareness of local and online policing, questions were asked about how involved respondents were with local policing. This included being a member of a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme. In addition, respondents were asked how willing their neighbours might be to intervene in a given hypothetical crime or ASB-related situation.
In 2011/12, around one in seven households (14 per cent) surveyed were currently a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, similar to estimates in the previous year. The last published analysis from the CSEW found that the proportion of households that were members of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme had decreased from 16 per cent in 2006/07 to 13 per cent in 2009/10 (Scribbins and Flatley, 2011). Since then, the proportion of households who reported being members of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme has remained stable.
The 2011/12 CSEW showed that membership of Neighbourhood Watch schemes was generally more common in the least deprived areas, among those living in houses (rather than flats/maisonettes) and those living in rural areas (see Appendix Tables A18-19 for breakdown by demographic characteristics). These findings are similar to those from previous rounds of the survey.
Adults living in households with a total gross income above £50,000 were more likely (17 per cent) to be a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme than those living in a household with a total income below £10,000 per year (11 per cent).
In 2011/12, the CSEW included questions on whether a household has ever been a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Of those households who were not currently members of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, 8 per cent had been members previously.
Of those households who were not current members of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, almost a third (30 per cent) cited the reason being that no one had asked them to join. A further 14 per cent had either not thought about it or got round to it. Other reasons given included being too busy to be a member (14 per cent), not knowing how to join (12 per cent) and not being interested (12 per cent).
Since 2009/10, questions have been included in the CSEW each year on how willing neighbours of respondents might be to intervene in a hypothetical situation concerning ASB among children in their neighbourhood. The types of ASB described in these questions include spraying graffiti, fighting, and being rude.
Respondents were asked in each of these situations how likely they think it is that people in their neighbourhood would intervene. These questions were asked about neighbours, rather than the respondents themselves, to reduce any potential social desirability bias. That is, the tendency of respondents to answer questions in a manner that will be viewed favourably by others.
In the 2011/12 CSEW, out of the three given hypothetical scenarios, respondents thought that their neighbours were most likely to intervene if they encountered children fighting (79 per cent) and least likely to intervene if they encountered children being rude (55 per cent). Generally, over the three years since 2009/10, the perceived likeliness of neighbours intervening in each of the hypothetical scenarios has remained fairly stable.
Owner occupiers were more likely (81 per cent) to think their neighbours would intervene if they encountered children fighting than social renters (70 per cent) or people renting their accommodation privately (75 per cent).
People living in households with an income of less than £10,000 were less likely (69 per cent) to think their neighbours would intervene if they encountered children fighting than people from households earning £50,000 or more (85 per cent).
Adults from households in rural areas were more likely (86 per cent) to think their neighbours would intervene if they encountered children fighting than those from households in urban areas (77 per cent).
A number of personal characteristics, as shown in Appendix Table A19 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) , were also associated with being more likely to think neighbours would intervene if they encountered children fighting:
People with degree or diploma level qualifications were more likely (83 per cent) to think neighbours would intervene than those with no qualifications (73 per cent).
Women were more likely (81 per cent) to think their neighbours would intervene if they encountered children fighting than men (76 per cent).
Findings from the questions on awareness of the non-emergency police phone 101 contact number and Neighbourhood Policing teams, use of crime maps and attendance at beat meetings have been combined in order to show engagement and awareness more generally. Around 60 per cent of adults had engaged in some way with at least one of these initiatives.
Conversely, 40 per cent of adults had not engaged in, or were aware of, any of the four initiatives. Again, this figure varied with a number of personal, area and household characteristics.
Adults living in households with an income of less than £10,000 were more likely (47 per cent) not to have engaged with any of these initiatives than adults from households earning £50,000 or more (30 per cent).
Unemployed adults were more likely (45 per cent) not to have engaged in any of these initiatives than adults in employment (37 per cent).
People from an ethnic background other than White were more likely (48 per cent) not to have engaged with these initiatives than White people (38 per cent).
Appendix Tables A21-22 (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) for a further breakdown by demographic characteristics.
For detailed information about the statistical sources used here, refer to the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales (ONS, 2012)1.
The British Crime Survey is now known as the Crime Survey for England and Wales to better reflect its geographical coverage. While the survey did previously cover the whole of Great Britain it ceased to include Scotland in its sample in the late 1980s. There is a separate survey – the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey – covering Scotland. Given the transfer of responsibility for the survey to ONS, it was decided that the name change would take effect from 1 April 2012.
The CSEW is a face-to-face survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of crime in the 12 months prior to the interview. The overall sample size for the CSEW is gradually being reduced from April 2012. The sample size will decrease from an achieved sample of 46,000 households per year in the year ending March 2012 to 35,000 households in the year ending March 2013.
The sample size reduction will take 12 months to implement and readers of the quarterly bulletin will see a gradual decrease in the un-weighted bases referenced in tables as data based on the old sample of 46,000 households reduces to the new sample size of 35,000 households.
The CSEW fieldwork was carried out by TNS-BMRB. In the year ending March 2012, the CSEW had a nationally representative sample of 46,031 adults and 3,930 children with response rates of 75 per cent and 67 per cent respectively. The survey is weighted to adjust for possible non-response bias and to ensure the sample reflects the profile of the general population.
Being based on a sample survey, CSEW estimates are subject to a margin of error. Unless stated otherwise, all changes in CSEW estimates described in the main text are statistically significant at the 95 per cent level. For more information on statistical significance and confidence intervals for CSEW data, see Section 8 of the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales (ONS, 2012).
Following the introduction of this newer form of online local crime information, the wording of the questions was updated for the 2011/12 questionnaire. In the 2009/10 and 2010/11 surveys, CSEW respondents were asked:
“Since January 2009 interactive crime maps which show crime levels in different local neighbourhoods have been available on all police force websites. Before this interview, did you know that these types of online maps were available?”
“And in the last 12 months have you looked at or used any interactive crime maps which show crime levels in your local neighbourhood?”
In the 2011/12 survey, CSEW respondents were asked:
“Since January 2011, maps and information which show the level of crime and anti-social behaviour on each street have been publicly available on the internet. Before this interview, did you know that this type of online information was available at street level?"
“And in the last 12 months have you looked at or used any crime maps or information which show the level of crime and anti-social behaviour on each street?”
This User Guide is the standard source of information on both police recorded crime figures and the CSEW.
The following are URL links associated with the production of Crime Statistics:
Crime in England and Wales 2010-11. Published 14th July 2011‘
Public perceptions of policing, engagement with police and victimisation: Findings from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey’ Supplementary Volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 18/11. Published 17th November 2011
‘Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2010/11’ Supplementary Volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 02/12. Published 19th January 2012
‘Hate crime, cyber security and the experience of crime among children: Findings from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey’ Supplementary Volume 3 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 06/12. Published 29th March 2012
In addition to these National Statistics releases, provisional management information drawn from police recorded crime figures, published at street level each month, is available:
Dhani, A., 2012, Police Service Strength Statistics, England and Wales, 31 March 2012, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 09/12
HMIC, 2012, ‘Policing in Austerity: one year on’
Jackson et al., 2009, ‘Does the Fear of Crime Erode Public Confidence in Policing?’ Policing 2009 pp 100-111
Jackson, J., Hough, M., Bradford, B., Pooler, T., Hohl, K. and Kuha, J., 2011, ‘Trust in Justice: Topline Results from Round 5’ ESS Topline Results Series 1, Issue 1
Jackson, J., Hough, M., Bradford, B., Pooler, T., Hohl, K. and Kuha, J., 2012, ‘Policing by Consent: Understanding the Dynamics of Police Power and Legitimacy’ ESS Topline Results Series 1
McKenna, K., Smith, N., Williams, J., Gardner, R., 2012, ‘Rolling out the police single non-emergency number (101): research into the public’s and practitioners’ views’, Home Office Research Report 66
Moon, D. and Flatley, J. (eds), Parfrement-Hopkins, J., Hall, P., Hoare, J., Lau, I., and Innes, J., 2011, ‘Public perceptions of policing, engagement with police and victimisation: Findings from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey’ Supplementary Volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 18/11
Myhill, A. and Beak, K., 2008, ‘Public Confidence in the Police’. NPIA
Myhill A., and Quinton, P., 2011, ‘It’s a fair cop? Police legitimacy, public cooperation, and crime reduction An interpretative evidence commentary’ NPIA
Office for National Statistics (2012) Population Estimates for England and Wales, Mid-2011 (2011 Census-based)
Ray, K., Davidson, R., Husain, F., Vegeris, S., Vowden, K. and Karn, J., 2012, ‘Perceptions of the policing and crime mapping ‘Trailblazers’’, Home Office Research Report 67
Rix, A., Joshua, F., Maguire, M. and Morton, S., 2009, ‘Improving public confidence in the police: a review of the evidence’ Home Office Research Report 28
Scribbins M., and Flatley, J. (eds), Parfrement-Hopkins, J., and Hall, P., 2010, ‘Public perceptions of policing, engagement with police and victimisation: Findings from the 2009/10 British Crime Survey’ Supplementary Volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2009/10, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 19/10
Scribbins, M. (Ed), Flatley, J. (Ed), Hoare, J., Parfrement-Hopkins, J., Britton, A and Hall, P. (2011). ‘Children’s experience and attitudes towards the police, personal safety and public spaces: Findings from the 2009/10 British Crime Survey interviews with children aged 10 to 15, Supplementary Volume 3 to Crime in England and Wales 2009/10, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 08/11
Sindall, K., Sturgis, P., and Jennings, W., 2012, ‘Public confidence in the police: a time series analysis’, British Journal of Criminology 52, pp 744-764
Thorpe, K., 2009, ‘Public perceptions of the police and local partners – results from the BCS year ending September 2008’, Home Office
Wentz, E., and Schlimfen, A., 2012, ‘Citizens’ perceptions of police service and police response to community concerns’ Journal of Crime and Justice Volume 35, pp 114-133
The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
meet identified user needs are well explained and readily accessible
are produced according to sound methods, and
are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.
National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
Details of policy governing the release of new data are available from Media Relations Office.
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Next quarterly crime statistics publication: 24 January 2013.
Future thematic reports due to be published:
Focus on Violent Crime: Findings from the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales and Police Recorded Crime: 7 February 2013
Focus on Property Crime: Findings from the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales and Police Recorded Crime: March/April 2013 (date to be confirmed)
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Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.
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