Four fifths of Shropshire residents unhappy with police presence, survey finds

Just a fifth of Shropshire Council residents are happy with the level of policing in their area, but a slim majority would favour paying more to maintain the current service, according to a survey.

The research, carried out by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion’s office, found that 80 per cent of Shropshire respondents and 69 per cent of those surveyed in Telford and Wrekin were unsatisfied.

A majority from both areas said they were confident they could access the police in emergencies but were less sure about making contact in non-urgent situations.

The report, due to go before the force area’s Police and Crime Panel next week, points out that the data only captures the views of those who completed the online survey, and “it is not possible to conclude that the findings are representative of all within West Mercia”, but says 72 per cent of people say they feel safe in their local areas.

Titled 'Your Voice: What Matters To You?', the survey was open from October 5 to November 2 and received 995 complete responses, including 176 from the Shropshire Council area and 78 from Telford and Wrekin.

One question told residents that “Covid-19 has already had a significant impact on the economy and is likely to affect the funding streams for policing”, then asked: “Would you be prepared to pay more in council tax to maintain existing levels of service in policing?”

Fifty-two per cent of Shropshire respondents answered “yes”, compared to 49 per cent in Telford and Wrekin.

Respondents were given five options for the level of the increase, and, across the force area as a whole, an 8.9 per cent rise – amounting to £20 more per year from a band-D household – was the most popular, chosen by 31 per cent of those who agreed to the council tax rise principle.

In another question, respondents were asked to imagine they had 100 “tokens” to distribute among eight spending areas.

In both Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin, the top two priorities were “visible policing” and “resourcing to tackle serious crimes”, but in different orders.

“Reforming police IT and improving technology for officers and staff” came third in both.

A conclusion accompanying the survey data said: “Overall, responses show support for the police with the majority agreeing that they are doing a good job and that residents feel safe in their local area.”

The survey data and the report will be discussed by the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel – which consists of elected councillors from across Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Worcestershire, and some lay co-opted members – on Friday, November 27.

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