British Crime Survey suggests police visibility up

Police officer at cordon 60% of respondents in England in Wales thought crime as a whole had gone up

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The visibility of police in England and Wales has been increasing but a quarter of people have never seen an officer on patrol in their area, figures suggest.

The Home Office has released more data from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey of household residents aged 16 and over between April 2010 and March 2011.

It suggests 55% had seen police or community support officers at least once a month, up from 38% in 2006/07.

Some 14% of 11,462 respondents reported seeing officers at least daily.

Perceptions of offending

The survey also found that 60% thought crime in the country as a whole had gone up. But when asked for their perceptions of offending where they lived, people's views tended to tally with official statistics: only 28% thought crime had risen in their local area.

Respondents most commonly cited the media when asked which sources of information gave them the impression that national crime rates were increasing.

Only 4% of people surveyed said they had used the online crime maps introduced by the Home Office to find out about levels of crime.

The survey also suggests that there is a high level of confidence in police in tackling crime.

Three-quarters of those questioned said they were "very" or "fairly" confident that police and local authorities were dealing with anti-social behaviour and the crime issues that matter in their area.

In all, 70% said police were doing an "excellent" or "good" job.

The number of people questioned for the research varied from topic to topic from around 4,000 to 24,000.

The data has been released as supplementary material to the annual Crime in England and Wales report published in July. The report was based on the British Crime Survey of 46,754 residents in households in England and Wales, as well as police-recorded crime.

Policing and justice powers have been devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland. The main findings of the 2010/11 Scottish Crime and Justice Survey were published earlier this month.

In June, the Police Service of Northern Ireland published police statistics on crime from 1998/99 to 2010/11.

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