Strong levels of public confidence in Police Scotland have been reported during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the majority of people supporting our approach to keeping people safe.
When asked for their opinion of policing in their local area and concerns regarding their safety and wellbeing, 84% of respondents who took part in the ‘Your Police’ 2020/21 survey also said they felt safe.
The survey – which launched on 9 April last year – received more than 36,500 responses from people across Scotland. This will help us to build on our understanding of the views and priorities of Scotland’s diverse communities.
During the survey period, the average public confidence level was 57% – an increase of nine percentage points from pre COVID-19. We learned that the factors which affected public confidence most were local changes to transmission rates and lockdowns, in particular the announcement of the national lockdown which began in January. The restrictions and increasing infection rates were factors for both Police Scotland and other public organisations, in general.
The survey feedback has helped shape and enhance Police Scotland’s response to our communities over the past year, as our officers, staff and Special Constables have continued to play a key role in the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. This response has included:
Increased police presence at identified key locations. This was particularly important to those living in rural areas with lower COVID-19 rates, who had concerns about domestic tourists from Scottish regions with higher infection rates visiting their area.
The use of enhanced technology. This included the introduction of online reporting for members of the public for perceived breaches of the COVID-19 regulations as well as the use of video appointments for the public and for community meetings, allowing for safe and accessible face-to-face contact.
Increased engagement with more than 250 organisations representing the interests of diverse communities and businesses. This helped improve awareness of the needs and challenges faced by those living with physical, sensory and learning difficulties, when practicing social distancing and using face masks. An event exploring public confidence within ‘seldom heard’ communities will also take place on May 19, co-hosted by Police Scotland, to help further enhance our support to these groups – further information below.
Tracking responses received from those living and working in communities with tighter restrictions and outbreaks. Monthly public confidence trackers have been created for each Local Policing Division to support local planning, accountability and scrutiny.
Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr, Local Policing, said: “Despite the continued challenges to policing during such an extraordinary time, Police Scotland has continued to maintain high levels of public confidence, and I am particularly pleased that such a significant proportion of the population continue to feel safe in the area they live. The strong relationships we have with our communities have been absolutely crucial, and providing reassurance to the people we serve during this challenging time has been a key priority.
“The ‘Your Police’ survey is the largest of its kind in the UK to involve the public in a conversation about policing and COVID-19, and I would like to thank the tens of thousands of people who took the time to get involved. The results were reviewed on a weekly basis, helping us to respond to emerging issues, and shape our approaches to policing at a national and local level. The survey has been relaunched to allow the public to continue letting us know their views and opinions over the coming months, and I would encourage you to take part.”
In addition, there was an extremely high level of satisfaction recorded among those who were in contact with police during this challenging time. More than 70% of people, who either reported or witnessed a crime, said they were satisfied with their experience when dealing with Police Scotland. Furthermore, over 80% of respondents were satisfied with how they were treated by call operators and attending officers, and 87% felt that their needs were properly understood.
DCC Kerr added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our fellow citizens for the overwhelming support and co-operation policing has experienced during this very challenging year. Our officers will continue to respond with good sense, exercising discretion and when necessary, taking enforcement action where required.”
To take part in the Your Police 2021-22 survey, please visit – https://consult.scotland.police.uk/surveys/your-police-2021-2022/