British Public Opposed to an Armed Police Force

British Public Opposed to an Armed Police Force

With fear of gun crime rising is it time to arm the police force as a matter of course? Should the death penalty be introduced for killers of police officers? In the aftermath of the murders of two unarmed police officers we asked 2,011 UK adults for their views on how best to protect the public and the police.

Our research reveals that 54% of UK adults think that UK police officers should not be routinely armed with 58% believing that this policy would be likely to lead to an increase gun related deaths.

It is often claimed that the majority of the British public are in favour of the death penalty. Opinium?s research bears this out: 59% of those surveyed would support the reintroduction of the capital punishment for murder. However, only 35% are prepared to support the death penalty for murderers of police officers only.

So whilst the public would support the reintroduction of the death penalty for murderers in general, there appears to be markedly less support for using the death penalty to protect police officers in particular as some in the media have been calling for.

Londoners Fearful of Crime

Pessimism about personal safety is rife in the UK, with only 11% of our sample agreeing that the UK has become a safer place to live over the last 5 years.

46% of Londoners say they are fearful of crime in their area, compared to 31% of the rest of the UK. 38% of adults living in large towns in the UK report that they are fearful of crime in their neighbourhood, so even when compared to other urban areas, London still compares poorly in terms of fear of crime.

However, in spite the extent of fear of crime in London, slightly more Londoners than people in the whole of the UK think that the UK is safer now than it was 5 years ago: 19%.

Trust in Police Remains High

In spite of high profile cases of police misconduct in the news ? the cover-up of the Hillsborough disaster and coroners verdict of unlawful killing in the case of Ian Tomlinson ? 54% of British adults have a high level of trust that the police act in the best interests of the public. Similarly, when asked if they trust the police to ensure the safety of the public, 54% report a high level of trust.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,011 UK adults aged 18+ from 21st to 24th Septemeber 2012. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.