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Crime and disorder: Public fears and shrinking confidence

Crime

New Home Office documents have revealed widespread public fear on the increasing levels of crime and disorder seen in the UK.

Recent polling carried out by the Government shows that public concerns over the rise in crime are significantly low and public confidence in the Government’s ability to tackle the issue is shrinking rapidly. Concerns over crime now sit as one of the most pressing issues facing the country and have clearly not been alleviated by recent initiatives employed by the Government.

Commissioned by the Home Office, the poll shows 61% of the public feel crime is going up nationally, whilst 35% have little or no confidence in the Government to tackle crime and disorder.

Boris Johnson’s administration employed the flagship Violence Reduction Unit to tackle the worsening issue of violent crime, particularly in inner-city areas. In March 2019, the Government announced a £100 million allocation to the Serious Violence Fund (SVF).

  • £63.4 million has been allocated to 18 police force areas worst affected by serious violent crime – aiding surge policing and increased patrols.
  • £1.6 million to the improvement of data infrastructure for violent crime.
  • £35 million to Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) to the same 18 areas deeply impacted by violent crime.

The combination of these initiatives aimed to target crime at the local level and increase capacity for the police to deal with the scale of the problem. However, widespread spending cuts to policing and police numbers seem to have limited the ability of such initiatives to impact successfully. These initiatives have similarly done little to change public perceptions on the level of crime and how the Government is tackling the problem.

Such low confidence in the ability of Boris Johnson’s administration to tackle crime is expected following ‘Party-gate’ and the stark increase in the level of crime, especially violent crime across the UK in recent years. In the last decade, violent offences have skyrocketed to frightening records. In the last 10 years, the number of police recorded violent offences in the UK rose from 626,720 in 2012 to 1,778,507 in 2021.

The Home Office document states: “Perceptions of crime and levels of concern are largely driven by anecdotal experiences and high-profile media cases. At a national level, the public are particularly concerned about violent crime such as knife crime and people using/dealing drugs and can point to examples in their own lives or the news that back up these worries.”

Final Thought

The Government knows that it is vulnerable on this issue and tackling violent crime represents a key political challenge for the Conservatives in the run up to the next election. Boris Johnson’s government must take urgent action to stem the rapidly growing fears over alarming crime rates in Britain.

Photo Credit: Terry

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