By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
The Deputy Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police says it is a ‘disgrace’ that around one in ten residents currently say they have no confidence in the force.
The comments were made at a meeting of Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Panel, which monitors force performance, on November 20.
Deputy Chief Constable Steve Cooper also said a new board has been set up to address the problem.
Panel members also questioned “alarming” figures which show just 40 per cent of people in Bassetlaw say they have confidence in the force.
This is compared with Nottinghamshire as a whole, where 52 per cent, or just over half of residents, say they do have confidence in officers.
During the discussion Steve Cooper, Deputy Chief Constable, said it was a “disgrace” that around one in 10 people overall said they did not have confidence in the force.
He said: “A new board has been set up to look at all issues of trust and confidence.
“Do I think 52 per cent is acceptable? Absolutely not.
“Do I think 13 per cent having no confidence, or over 1 in 10 people, having no confidence is acceptable? Absolutely not. It is a disgrace.
“But the new board hopefully shows how importantly we are treating it.”
Notts Police publishes confidence figures as part of its police and crime plan performance update.
In the year to September 2023, 40 per cent of people surveyed in Bassetlaw said they had confidence in the police – down from 45.9 per cent in the year to September 2020.
Bassetlaw has the lowest confidence figures in the county, with Nottingham city residents reporting the highest levels of confidence, at 58 per cent.
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry (Con) said she was not satisfied with the statistics, but added falling confidence in police officers is a national issue.
As an elected Commissioner, Mrs Henry is responsible for monitoring the force’s finances and performance, but overall operational control lies with the Chief Constable.
Mrs Henry said: “Am I happy with the levels of confidence? No I’m not.
“When I recruited the new Chief Constable [Kate Meynell], one of the reasons I thought she would be the right person for the job is how she presented to me how she would build trust and confidence in the police.
“It’s not a quick thing to do. Let’s remember this is a national issue, when it comes to it people pick up the phone and report when they need help.
“When it comes to it, people pick up the phone and call when they need help and our calls are increasing.”
Dan Howitt, head of strategy and performance for the Commissioner, said the views of around 4,500 residents each year make up the survey results.
He said: “Around the 52 per cent figure, to put that in context, is those who ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ [that they have confidence in the force]. The vast majority of the rest fall into ‘neither agree nor disagree’.”
Panel member Cllr John Willmott (Ind) said: “Bassetlaw only has a confidence of 40 per cent confidence in the police which is alarming.
“I don’t know why that should be so low, it’s mind-boggling. Ashfield is 49 per cent.
“South Nottinghamshire is 51 per cent but that is 10 per cent less than 10 years ago.”
Councillor Madelaine Richardson (Lab) representing Bassetlaw District Council, said: “As a councillor talking to people in Bassetlaw, they don’t report much to the police.
“They are reluctant because they don’t get anything back. A lot of it is not trusting police to do things.
“We have difficulty getting people to report a crime.”
Mrs Henry replied: “When it comes to resources across the county, Bassetlaw has actually got more [officers] than other areas. But it is such a vast area you don’t always see that.”