Public Perceptions of Policing

The impact of information about crime and policing on public perceptions: The results of a randomised controlled trial
National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA)
Paul Quinton

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) carried out a randomised controlled trial to test the impact of crime maps and policing information. The public’s reaction to information about crime and policing was positive; a large majority thought it was informative and trustworthy. Importantly, the study was able to challenge the myth that sharing information with the public would increase the ‘fear of crime’. In fact, information was found to improve people’s perceptions of their neighbourhood and of the local police. The results of the study suggest that crime and policing information is a promising intervention in terms of improving the views of the public and, potentially, enhancing police accountability. The evidence, therefore, indicates that an investment of police resources in making information available to the public is worthwhile, particularly when integrated within a broader neighbourhood policing approach.