‘Police Commissioners won’t change countryside policing’ say three quarters in rural communities
Countryside Alliance launches Police Commissioners’ Manifesto amid fears of voter apathy
Exclusive ComRes polling for the Countryside Alliance has found 76 per cent of people living in rural areas think it is unlikely that policing in their local area will change with the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners, raising further fears about low turnout in the November elections.
The Countryside Alliance has launched its Police Commissioners’ Manifesto – Rural Crime Matters – calling on all those standing as candidates in the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections to sign-up to address policing and crime in rural areas as a key priority.
76 per cent of people living in rural areas doubt that policing in their local area would change much with the introduction of an Elected Police Commissioner. 66 per cent of people in urban areas say the same.
66 per cent of rural people agreed that Elected Police Commissioners will be an added an extra layer of bureaucracy. 63 per cent of urban people agree Elected Police Commissioners will be an added extra layer of bureaucracy.
55 per cent of rural residents think Elected Police Commissioners will be a waste of money. 52 per cent of urban residents think Elected Police Commissioners will be a waste of money.
52 per cent of respondents in rural areas disagree with the statement “the types of crime which affect people are the same all over the country, and we do not need to have police strategies that are different for different places”. Again this was a higher level than in urban areas where 45 per cent of respondents disagree.
The Four Key Asks in the Countryside Alliance Police Commissioners’ Manifesto:
1. Fair funding for rural communities
We want to see police spending per head on a level footing for both rural and urban areas. The Government’s Spending Review has concluded that police funding will be reduced by 14 per cent in real terms by 2014-15. PCCs will set their police force’s budget and it would be unfair if these cuts were to affect rural communities disproportionately.
2. Rural crimes taken seriously
A crime in a rural area should be taken as seriously as a crime in an urban area and this must be reflected in the Police’s handling and response. Crimes that occur in rural areas, such as burglary, agricultural theft, fly-tipping, rustling and trespass should be high on the list of policing priorities decided upon by PCCs.
3. Proper representation on community policy groups
People from rural communities must be represented on community safety partnerships and local criminal justice boards, so that they have a voice. PCCs should engage with, and listen to, these organisations.
4. Police plans rural proofed
The needs of rural areas should be routinely considered in the development of policy and strategy. In deciding policing strategy it is vital that PCCs recognise the concerns of rural communities and that Police Plans reflect this.
Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman, Sir Barney White-Spunner, commented:
“The election of Police and Crime Commissioners is the single most important change to policing in the England and Wales for decades. The election date and limited campaign funding have already raised concerns that turnout for the November elections will be low. Coupled with three quarters voters do not think that Commissioners will make any practical difference to policing in their areas only raise those concerns further.
“It is in no-one’s interest to have Commissioners elected by a tiny proportion of the electorate so the Countryside Alliance has published a Police Commissioners’ Manifesto to help candidates engage with rural communities and the policing issues that matter to them. Rural voters will come out to vote for candidates who understand that rural crime matters.”
Methodology: ComRes interviewed 4,071 GB adults online on the 4th to 11th May 2012. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables can be found at comres.co.uk.