Women in London Have a Far Less Positive View of the Metropolitan Police Than Men

June 28, 2023
R&WS Research Team
Cities & Urban Life | Law & Order | Lifestyle and Society | London | Policing

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The Metropolitan Police, the UK’s largest police force, has had a difficult few years. 

Following a string of scandals involving officers in the force, namely the horrific abduction and murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, a member of the forces elite Special Firearms Unit, and a series of rapes committed by another former officer in the same unit, David Carrick, who was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison, a report published in March found an institutionalised culture of racism, misogyny and homophobia within the force.

At the time of this report, a nationwide survey found that a plurality (45%) of Britons thought the Metropolitan Police was not fit for purpose, against only 27% who thought it was.

Recent research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies in London has some mixed results for the Metropolitan Police. While regarded fairly positively by Londoners as a whole, the force still has a major trust deficit to make up among female residents of the Capital. 

Overall, a majority of 56% of voters in London say the Met is fit for purpose, against only 29% who say it is not. Younger voters are more negative, with 18-24-year-olds being the only age cohort in which more respondents say the Met is not fit for purpose (42%) than say that it is (37%).

70% say officers in their area are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ approachable, while 19% say police officers in their area are ‘not at all’ approachable.

Sir Mark Rowley, who has been the Metropolitan Police Commissioner since September 2022, holds a positive net approval rating of +13%, with 33% of Londoners approving of his job performance against 20% who disapprove.

Overall, 48% of Londoners have a positive view of the Metropolitan Police, against 27% who hold a negative view.

Nevertheless, in the wake of the Couzens and Carrick cases, there is a wide gender split in responses to this question and many others.

While a majority (61%) of men have a positive view of the Metropolitan Police, just 37% of women say the same. 30% of women instead say they have a ‘neither positive nor negative’ view of the force.

Similarly, on a scale from 0 (no trust) to 3 (complete trust), 31% of male respondents say they have complete trust in the Met against only 13% of women who express the same degree of trust in the force

While 36% of men place their trust in the Met at the two lowest levels of 0 or 1, 49% of women select the two lowest levels of trust.

Women in London are also far less confident than men in the ability of the Police to protect them from crime.

While 56% of men express confidence in the ability of the police to protect them from crime, only 37% of women say the same.

Critically, when asked whether they feel safe or unsafe under a variety of everyday circumstances, fewer women feel safe than men in all of the 12 potential situations prompted.

More women feel unsafe than safe walking alone at night (49% to 32%) or going on a first date with someone they have never met (36% to 33%).   

Male and female responses are aligned, however, when Londoners are asked to compare their level of concern about a crime being committed against them now as compared to five years ago.

69% of Londoners are more concerned about a crime being committed against them now than they were five years ago, while only 9% say they are less concerned.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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