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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Survey reveals Scots crime fears
Car crime features in the survey
More than three-quarters of people in Scotland do not believe police will be able to catch those responsible for housebreakings or car theft, according to a survey for the BBC.

Street crime, drugs, juries and sentencing are among the areas covered by the BBC/ICM poll.

The research is being published to coincide with the BBC's Crime Day on Wednesday, a day of programmes and online content aimed at revealing the true picture of crime across the UK.

Crime Day in Scotland

BBC Scotland's home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson says although crime levels are at their lowest since WWII and detection rates at their highest, the survey reveals continuing public unease.

As an example, 65% of those questioned felt street crime levels had risen in the past five years yet only 17% had direct family experience of a mugging.

Perhaps because questioning was carried out shortly after the Soham murders, 84% feared their child could be attacked if they were out after dark, our correspondent writes.

Although there are record numbers of police, three-quarters said they would feel safer if there were more officers on the beat.

Attitudes towards the police

  • Nearly four out of five respondents (76%) said they were not confident the police would catch a burglar or car thief and 61% said the same thing about a mugger

  • The police were not thought to be to blame for this lack of confidence: 36% said they had too few resources to catch a mugger and 19% said they spent too much time on paperwork

  • People's top choice to make them feel safer in public was more police on the streets with more CCTV cameras second on their list.

Street crime

  • Nearly a third (30%) of people who have children between the ages of 10 and 16 said they were too worried to let them go out after dark

  • 54% of those surveyed said they thought street crime had increased in the past six months. The government has subsequently issued interim figures claiming it is beginning to get street crime under control.

Drugs

  • People remain confused about the legal situation regarding cannabis. Only 16% of people now know that smoking the drug is illegal with just 9% of 14-20 year-olds aware

  • 45% of respondents thought there would be no change to crime because of the government's current actions on cannabis.

Juries and sentencing

  • 62% of those who took part thought prisoners should always serve the full sentence set by the judge. Only six per cent thought that all prisoners should be eligible for early release for good behaviour while in jail

  • More than three-quarters (77%) thought juries should know about an accused's previous criminal record before they considered their verdict. Only 21% said they would give their verdict based on the evidence given at the trial alone.

ICM interviewed a random sample of 625 adults in Scotland aged over 18 by telephone between 9-12 September.

Interviews were conducted throughout Scotland and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.

Crime Day in Scotland

BBC One in Scotland will broadcast a special programme in front of a live audience at 2235 BST on Wednesday, during which First Minister Jack McConnell will take questions.

Send us your e-mails to put to Jack McConnell or call us on 08700 100 900 to tell us your story.

You can watch the programme live on the internet. A link will appear on this page shortly before it begins.

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Reevel Alderson reports
"A large number of people polled said they were worried about the number of young people involved in crime"

Send your crime questions to Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell
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18 Sep 02 | Scotland
06 Sep 02 | Scotland
22 Aug 02 | Scotland
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