BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Programmes: World at One: Programme highlights  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Programme highlights Wednesday, 10 January, 2001, 14:51 GMT
A declining faith in the police
Law and order is rapidly heading back up the pre-election political agenda, with the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, launching a new campaign against violent crime, and in particular the crime of choice among young people, the theft of mobile 'phones from other youngsters.

But even as he spoke, a survey by the Audit Commission indicated that public confidence in the police was declining, with only one-fifth of the population satisfied with the number of police on the beat, and satisfaction with response to 999 calls down from 85% to 82%.

The Home Secretary promoted his new anti-crime initiatives with local business and community leaders in the King's Cross district of London.

Mr Straw was anxious to rebut any suggestion that Labour were - the old accusation so often thown at them - soft on crime.

Jack Straw: More phones mean more 999 calls
But the Tory Home Affairs spokesman Ann Widdicombe was sceptical of the focus Mr Straw had chosen.

Funny figures?

Ann Widdecombe's scepticism is, perhaps, reflected in the Audit Commission's lengthy and detailed enquiry into the performance of police authorities in England and Wales.

That shows wide disparities from force to force - though the Commission does warn that it doesn't always compare like with like.

Big Metropolitan forces may face different challenges from small rural ones, and respond in different ways - which may be appropriate for their circumstances.

But more worrying for the government will be the measures of public satisfaction, which show a widespread unease at the lack of foot patrols - "bobbies on the beat" - as low as seven per cent satisfaction in Merseyside, and nine per cent in South Yorkshire.

Taking off the helmet for the last time?
Satisfaction with the response to 999 calls drops as low as 70% in Staffordshire...in Sussex they're unhappy with service at police enquiry counters - only 71% - though again there are wide regional differences in all these statistics.

Bill does better

The much-criticised Metropolitan police in London come out rather above average on most counts.

Mike Bennet is the former Chairman of the Met Police Federation and trustee of the Victim Crime Trust - he has strong views on how public confidence could be restored in the police.

It's a case of more bobbies on the beat - a strong reassurance to the law-abiding public.

The Liberal Democrat Home Affair spokesman, Simon Hughes, says the government's present focus shows it's tackling symptoms rather then causes.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Jon Manel reports
The Home Secretary launches his initiative in London's Kings Cross
Conservative Home Affairs spokesman Ann Widdecombe
Jack Straw's initiatives do not seem to make any difference
Victim Crime Trust's Mike Bennet
People want to see police on the streets but that's expensive
Police Federation's Mike Broughton
The perception of the police is affecting recruitment
Liberal Democrats' Simon Hughes
Violent crime figures may well be rising
Home Secretary Jack Straw
The number of police officers is rising
Links to more Programme highlights stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Programme highlights stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes