• Date and time: Thursday 20 June 2024, 1pm to 2pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Audience: Open to alumni, staff, students, the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

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ESRC Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre Webinar

Speakers: Professor Ben Bradford (University College London, Centre Co-Investigator), Dr Christine Weirich and Dr David Rowlands (both University of Leeds, Centre Researchers) and the event will be chaired by Professor Adam Crawford (University of York, Centre Co-Director).

‘Trust and confidence’ in the police is, arguably, in a moment of crisis. A significant decline in public opinion is well evidenced by a range of surveys and other research – yet rarely do these confront the basic question of what the public wants from police. What is the service people think the police should deliver, and do they think police are achieving it?

In this seminar we present results from a programme of research aimed at answering these questions. Inspired by the idea of the Minimum Income Standard, we first used an iterative focus group methodology to establish consensus on a set of activities and services that the police should be able to provide to everyone - a ‘Minimum Policing Standard.’ Three rounds of focus groups conducted in four UK locations revealed broad agreement on the importance of responding to local problems, neighbourhood police presence and engagement and fair treatment, all of which were observed to be lacking. Generic crime priority lists were not seen to be useful for thinking about how police should respond to and protect communities.

Second, we translated the criteria developed in the focus groups into survey questions that we fielded in a representative survey of England, Scotland and Wales. Results suggest that few people think police are meeting minimum standards of service delivery, and that this feeds into the currently low, and fragile, levels of public confidence in policing. In sum, our research reveals considerable social consensus on what service police should provide and a minimum standard to which a police service should adhere, coupled with widespread concerns that police are not, in fact, meeting these standards. There are clear messages here for those interested in improving trust and confidence in policing.

The support of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), via grant ES/W002248/1, is gratefully acknowledged.

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