The thin blue line is vanishing

The thin blue line is vanishing

Exclusive poll reveals seven out of ten of us rarely see a bobby on the beat - and 30% don't believe they would treat their case 'seriously'

  • Repeated warnings about dangers of cuts to police budgets have hit home
  • Only nine per cent support Chancellor's proposal to reduce police numbers
  • Senior Tories believe the police have been guilty of scaremongering  
  • Poll also showed 47 per cent support cutting benefits for the unemployed

Seven out of ten people rarely see a police officer on the street, an exclusive Daily Mail poll reveals.

Damningly, almost 30 per cent of the public do not believe that, if they were the victim of a crime, the police would treat their case ‘seriously’.

But the survey of 1,000 people suggests that repeated warnings by senior officers about the dangers of George Osborne making further cuts to police budgets have hit home.

Only 9 per cent support the Chancellor reducing police numbers in tomorrow’s spending review as a way of balancing the nation’s books.

By contrast, more than half of the public say he should slash spending on foreign aid.

This is despite the fact that Mr Osborne has ring-fenced the £12billion aid budget, which is excluded from any cuts. Senior Tories believe the police – whose anti-cuts warnings have been given extensive coverage by the BBC in recent days – have been guilty of scaremongering. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says budgets have risen by £1.5billion in real terms over the past 15 years. And as we reveal below, police are also sitting on reserves of around £2billion.

But while Mr Osborne has said police cannot be immune from making savings, 89 per cent of voters are opposed to reducing the number of officers.

Some 69 per cent rarely see bobbies on the beat in their local area and over four in five – 82 per cent – agree that Britain needs more on the streets

Ahead of the spending review, in which the Chancellor is due to make cuts totalling £20billion, the poll shows:

  • 60 per cent oppose controversial plans to cut tax credits for people who are in work, with a third in favour
  • 47 per cent support cutting benefits to unemployed people, while 45 per cent oppose
  • 54 per cent want cuts made to foreign aid, while 40 per cent disagree.

The survey, conducted over the weekend by ComRes, found more than four in five adults (83 per cent) agree that most police officers are trustworthy. But just 68 per cent say they are confident that if they were a victim of crime the police would treat their case seriously – which means that, disturbingly, three in every ten have lost faith.

Last month, the police were accused of ‘giving a green light to criminals’ after it was disclosed that some force areas have abandoned inquiries into shoplifting, people who leave restaurants without paying and fuel theft from petrol stations.

Victims of vehicle crime in Surrey might not be visited by a police officer in future because of reduced funding.

In some areas, even burglary victims have been told to email the police. Police have also said they will no longer put the same resources into investigating cannabis farms.

Eight in ten adults say they are satisfied with the police, while a similar number are happy with the performance of the NHS – which is in line for a £10billion boost in the spending review. Three in five British adults are satisfied with the justice system, while more than a third – 36 per cent – are dissatisfied.

The poll also delivers yet another blow to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s beleaguered leadership – which has been dogged by rows over whether he would support police shooting terrorists if they were waging a Paris-style attack.

The party is down four points since the last telephone poll for the Mail last month, leaving them on only 29 per cent – 11 points behind the Conservatives on 40 per cent.

On Sunday, George Osborne signalled controversial cuts to police budgets will go ahead, despite the days of protests by chiefs. However, counter-terror policing will receive a 30 per cent increase in its overall budget following heightened security concerns.

He is also expected to unveil proposals tomorrow to soften the impact of the changes to tax credits.

Written for THE DAILY MAIL

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