The majority of the British public now feel less safe from crime, with almost nine in 10 saying police do not have enough funding to do their job, a Sky Data poll has revealed.
Some 51% of people feel less safe from crime than they did a few years ago, with 14% feeling more safe and 34% saying there has been no change.
Some 80% think the police have become less able to protect people over the last few years, with 48% saying they have become much less effective in protecting people from criminals.
Similarly, 83% of people think there is more crime happening now than a few years ago – 48% say there is much more.
And the finger of blame is directed at police funding cuts – 86% do not think the police have sufficient funding to deal effectively with current crime levels, with 62% saying they do not have nearly enough.
According to the poll, 8% say the police have the right amount of funding, with 3% saying they get more than enough.
More than 20,000 police jobs have been cut in England and Wales since 2010, with government funding for the police cut by more than £2bn per year over the same period.
People in London, which has seen a sustained increase in violent crime over recent years, are particularly concerned – 65% of Londoners feel less safe now, compared with 51% across the UK.
And worries about police funding cross party divides, with 81% of Conservative voters and 92% of Labour voters saying officers do not receive sufficient resources to deal effectively with current crime levels.
Helen Mills, senior associate at the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said official statistics around crime were not straightforward.
She told Sky News: “It’s certainly true to say police recorded crime is increasing and it has been since 2014 but that might not necessarily mean that the incidents of crime are increasing.”
Ms Mills said police recorded crime figures in relation to other sources like the Crime Survey for England and Wales broadly agreed until 2014.
“It does seem odd that the two main sources we’ve got on crime now disagree with each other,” she said. “It is less odd when we know that in 2014 when police recording practices changed around crime.
“There were issues with what was being recorded and in favour of having greater accuracy, things are now being recorded differently which means incidents which were not recorded prior to 2014 now are.”
She said victims of sexual offences were becoming more willing to report crimes while there were less opportunities to commit other types of crimes – like burglary, with homes being better secured than before.
Speaking about increases in reported violent crime, Ms Mills said: “It is important to put those increases in context – overall, over the longer term, crime is still down.
“It’s nowhere near its peak in the late 1990s and with knife crime, the recent increase seen is concerning but it still means knife crime is still below what it was in the early 2000s.”
She said there was no consensus behind what was driving changes around violence and said some cited inequality and poverty, policy choices – such as police numbers – and changes in criminal behaviour, for any changes.
:: Sky Data interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,466 Sky customers online between 20 and 23 July 2018. Data is weighted to the profile of the population.
:: For full Sky Data tables, please click here.