EXCLUSIVE: Voters think police have a problem with class bias, poll finds

'It is a reality that across the socioeconomic spectrum, working class communities are policed disproportionately, with those who are working class being identified as potentially criminal far more often than their middle class counterparts'.

A greater proportion of voters think that the police have a problem with classism compared to those who do not, an exclusive poll for LFF has revealed.

The poll, conducted by Savanta:ComRes, asked voters whether they thought the police in general had a problem with classism. A plurality (46%) think that the police have a problem with classism, compared to 31% who think they don’t.

53% of 18-24 year olds thought that the police had a problem with classism, compared to 33% of those aged 55-64. When it came to party affiliation, Labour voters were the most likely to believe the police has a class bias at 55%, followed by 47% of Lib Dem voters. Of those who voted Conservative in the last general election, only 41% thought that the police had a problem with classism. 55% of Brexit party voters though that the police did not have a problem with classism.

Responding to the findings of the poll, Ellie Mae O’Hagan, the Director for the Centre of Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) said: “It comes as no surprise that large numbers of the British public believe the police to have a problem with class bias.

“It is a reality that across the socioeconomic spectrum, working class communities are policed disproportionately, with those who are working class being identified as potentially criminal far more often than their middle class counterparts.

“It is high time that concrete action is taken to root out all forms of bias, including that of class. The double standard in policing must end, and institutional reform is urgently needed.”

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath and the party’s Equalities Spokesperson told LFF: “Policing is absolutely critical for social justice, because crime disproportionately affects the poorest and most vulnerable.

“So, it’s vital that we rebuild trust in the police, and that means proper community policing, with officers who are visible, trusted and known personally to local people.

“Everyone should be able to feel safe in their own home and walking down their own streets.”

Representative poll of 2095 GB adults. Prepared by Savanta: ComRes ~ Fieldwork Conducted between 1st and 3rd October 2021. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of UK adults 18+ by age, gender, region, and other socio-economic characteristics including social grade.

Basit Mahmood is co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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