Police Authority Consultation in England and Wales: Improving Citizen Focus in the Police Service

David Dalgleish, Home Office, London
Maria Docking, Home Office, London
Andy Myhill, Home Office, London
Stella Yarrow, Home Office, London

ABSTRACT
Police authorities are independent bodies, responsible for the oversight of local policing in England and Wales. One of their key responsibilities is to consult with the local community about the policing of their area and their priorities. The British Crime Survey shows that whilst the crime rate in England and Wales has fallen, fear of crime has risen. Public reassurance is something that practitioners and policy makers are increasingly trying to address. Police engagement with the public has a key role inreassurance and this paper will present the findings on police consultation with the public, including with so called 'hard to reach groups'.

This paper draws on the results of a mixed methodological project which used; telephone surveys of all police authorities; case studies of si police force areas; observations of consultation exercises; face-to-face interviews with key stakeholders and representatives; and focus groups members of the general public including specific minority ethnic groups. The paper aims to give a greater understanding of public perceptions of crime and the police, and the relationship between engagement with the police and feelings of safety and security. It will also consider the views of the public on who they hold responsible for crime reduction. The difference between different sections of the public will be highlighted, as will potential problems for practitioners.

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Updated 05/20/2006