Is policing failing to engage deprived communities?

Here’s a link to a comment piece by Clare Fraser in the Guardian from July 2014 about lack of police engagement with people in deprived areas. The article supports the launch of her report for public sector think tank ‘Reform’ called ‘The expert citizen’.

Her main argument is that the police need to do more to engage with communities through things like introducing feedback mechanisms, allowing online reporting, and increasing attendance at beat meetings and membership of neighbourhood watch. She throws out some interesting statistics, for example:

  • 25% of households surveyed in the least deprived areas were members of Neighbourhood Watch compared to only 6% of households in the most deprived areas.
  • Overall confidence in the police is 80% in the least deprived areas, but just 69% in the most deprived.

By ‘least’ and ‘most’ deprived the data used is for the top/bottom quintile or 20% of the employment deprivation index. These statistics are from the ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales 2011/12, ‘Focus on public Perceptions of Policing’ and can be found in the linked excel document on page 5.  This has a lot more to offer for anyone interested. Here are some other figures from it that could be seen as supporting Fraser’s argument:

  • 40% of those from the least deprived areas were aware of online crime maps compared to 24% from the most deprived areas.
  • 56% of those from most deprived areas on employment deprivation index said police were doing a good/excellent job compared to 68% among those from the least deprived areas.

It would be interesting to see if the relationship is more pronounced when choosing the top and bottom 10% instead of 20%, and also how the relationship might look if other IMD domains or domains including ‘Crime’ were used.

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