Poll: 41.4% unsatisfied after contact with Police Scotland

More than two-fifths of people who had contact with police over the last year were unsatisfied with the response, according to a survey.

A strong visible police presence made 71.5% of people feel either safe or reassured, survey showed. Picture: John Devlin

Police Scotland’s online Your View Counts survey was completed by almost 16,000 people between April and September this year.

A report on its findings shows that of the 8,267 people who had contact with police in their local area, 58.6 per cent were satisfied while 41.4 per cent were not.

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More than a third of respondents (37.5 per cent) said they thought crime had increased in their area over the past year, with 42.6 per cent saying they felt it had remained the same and 12.5 per cent feeling it had decreased.

A large majority (71.5 per cent) of people said seeing police in their area made them feel either safe or reassured, with 34.6 per cent saying they had low confidence in police responding to their concerns.

On Monday it was revealed that Police Scotland is considering the future of 58 police stations across the country as part of a review of its estate. Respondents to the survey were asked to pick how they would prefer to report a crime.

While 7,022 preferred reporting crimes at a police station, the options of e-mail, telephone and social media attracted a total of 17,952 votes.

Members of the public said their top local priorities were anti-social behaviour, housebreaking and drugs, while they thought the national focus should be on tackling terrorism, violent crime and serious organised crime.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cowie said the involvement of members of the public was “vital in helping shape the service policing provides across the country”.

He said: “The survey is one of the ways for our communities to give us their feedback on what matters most to them, and allows us to respond appropriately.

“We would encourage those who have not yet done so to take just 15 minutes of their time to tell us what is important to them about policing.”

Scottish Conservative community safety spokesman Oliver Mundell said: “This survey shows people seem to be losing confidence in the ability of Police Scotland to do its job in local communities.

“Officers work tremendously hard, and that hard work is appreciated by people who want to see more of them – not less – in their towns and cities.

“But that is being undermined by an SNP government which wants to reduce the visibility of officers and cut the number of places where people can actually go in and deal with the force.”

Scottish Labour justice spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “Under the SNP we have seen local stations closed, civilian staff numbers slashed and thousands of 101 calls abandoned. Police Scotland, with a £27 million revenue overspend, is facing the brunt of SNP cuts.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We know through the well-established Scottish Crime and Justice Survey in 2014-15 that crime has fallen by 34 per cent since 2008-9 and that the majority of people in Scotland feel the police are doing a good or excellent job.

“We are committed to strengthening the community focus of policing.”