Reported in the Independent today, based on research by BMG with ‘1,506 GB adults online between 6 and 9 November’, we read:
‘Almost 80 per cent of people believe police force spending cuts have made them less safe on the streets of Britain, an exclusive survey has shown. Some four-fifths of those questioned in the exclusive survey for The Independent said swingeing cuts enforced during a near-decade of austerity driven by the Conservatives have damaged public safety.’
There’s a logical basis for at least some of this level of fear in the evidence of reported crime increasing at the same time:
Add to this hard evidence, the effects of media incubation of fear in their focus on crime in both news and in drama and it makes perfect sense that people feel less safe.
I was unable to get any regional or national breakdown but an earlier Ipsos MORI poll in April 2018 did offer this:
Before looking at the breakdown, it’s interesting to note the much lower levels of ‘concern’ apparent in the above with none of the regions coming anywhere near the BMG figure of 80%. However, without a detailed comparison of the wording of the questions and the allocation of responses to categories of concern, there is little scope in suggesting that the level of fear of crime has increased so dramatically in these few months between the two surveys.
It is possible, that there has been some overall increase in this period though, given the continuing rise in reported crime levels across England & Wales and the epidemic of knife killings in London which is constantly headlined by media.
In Scotland, however, reported crime continues to fall and though media here have been determinedly milking the few cases they have, there seems little reason that the Ipsos MORI figures will have shifted much.
Our perceptions of crime levels are mostly constructed for us by the media coverage we consume, and, in Scotland, we face daily and intense coverage of any violence that can be found, along with a prolonged campaign to undermine Police Scotland and to cast doubt on its competence. That Scots seemed less anxious, at least in April, seems, to me, quite remarkable in the circumstances. The scale of the distortion, of the Police Scotland attacks and the failure to contextualise with comparative statistics, can be seen in these earlier reports: