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By Bar Council

More Than Half Of Women Don’t Trust Police To Keep Them Safe

Over half of women have little or no faith in the police to keep them safe. (Alamy)

3 min read

Exclusive: New polling by Savanta for PoliticsHome has revealed that 55 per cent of women surveyed have little or no trust at all in the police’s ability to keep women safe.

Of 2,288 people aged over 16, polled at the end of February, 29 per cent of women said they had “little trust” in the police with 26 per cent saying they had "no trust at all"; just 3 per cent said they had “complete trust”, and 9 per cent said they had “a lot of trust”.

30 per cent said they had “some trust” with 3 per cent reporting they “don’t know”.

Overall, polling regardless of gender found just 17 per cent of people had "complete trust" (5 per cent) or "a lot of trust" (12 per cent) in the police.

51% of respondents said they had "a little trust" (27 per cent) or "no trust at all" (24 per cent); 3 per cent said "don't know".  

70 per cent of those polled said the police need to do more to support women's safety in public - with 57 per cent believing this was the responsibility of the government. 

53 per cent of people surveyed by Savanta said men need to do more, with 44 per cent saying councils should, and 31 per cent saying women themselves were responsible for their own safety.

Public confidence in the police has been heavily damaged in recent years by a string of serious and high profile misconduct cases.

Data obtained by The Observer this month revealed that 80 police officers across 22 police forces in England and Wales had faced disciplinary action for inappropriate sexual contact or relations with victims, witnesses, and suspects since 2018.

Further data obtained by the paper showed around one in 100 police officers in England and Wales faced criminal charges over the last 12 months – including sexual offences.

Labour MP Jess Phillips, shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, told PoliticsHome the polling demonstrated a “grave confidence issue” in law enforcement.

“The police and the home secretary must address this grave confidence issue, because it is stopping women who are beaten and abused coming forward,” she said. 

“In both standards and vetting that is important but also in how we manage cases of domestic and sexual abuse, stalking and indecent exposure because we cannot have a system where women think ‘what's the point in reporting."

Anna Birley, founder of women's campaign group Reclaim These Streets, said the findings were unsurprising. 

“Of course women don't trust the police, how can they?” Birley told PoliticsHome.

“It isn't just the constant stream of appalling conduct by serving officers, it's all the missed opportunities to take action to keep women safe.

“The investigations into [David] Carrick kept being shelved. The incidents of indecent exposure that [Wayne] Couzens was sentenced for yesterday were ignored.

“This poisonous culture is institutional and we are yet to see the senior officers who enabled it held to account.”

Both Carrick and Couzens have become two of the most high profile cases of police misconduct and sexual violence over the last several years.

Former Metropolitan police officer Couzens, who was convicted for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard in 2021 and sentenced to life in prison. He was sentenced to a further 19 months this week for historic indecent exposures in Kent.

Carrick, also a former Metropolitan police officer, was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison earlier this year after pleading guilty to 85 serious offences which included 48 rapes.

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