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Public supportive of police approach to lockdown, according to poll

Results of a YouGov poll provides "much needed boost for overstretched police forces", with public opinion indicating overall approval of the police's handling of lockdown enforcement.

A YouGov poll asked 1646 members of the public their opinion of the police’s enforcement of the lockdown, with 74 per cent saying they supported forces’ approach.

Only six per cent think the police have been too “heavy handed” and two per cent think the police have no role to play in enforcing the lock down.

Londoners are the least understanding, with 66 per cent fully supportive, while Scotland showed the highest amount of full support at 81 per cent.

A total of 32 per cent felt the police had gone too far in some cases and 54 per cent were unhappy with forces ‘naming and shaming’ non-compliant people on social media.

The survey was done between Friday 3 April and Sunday 5 April.

YouGov said the results indicate: “There is broad public support for the police responses, with around half the public thinking the police responses has been proportionate and correct.”

There was some criticism in the media at the beginning of last week over the way some forces handled members of the public who were flouting government guidance to stay at home.

The most notable of these was Derbyshire Police’s use of a drone to observe if people were gathering in large numbers in parks and 43 per cent of those who took part in the survey said they were uncomfortable about drones being used to photograph people making unnecessary journeys.

Crime and Justice consultancy Crest Advisory, who commissioned the poll, said: “Overall, these numbers will be a much needed boost for overstretched police forces up and down the country, showing that an overwhelming proportion of the public support their approach.

They added: “However, we conclude that while a small proportion of the public say the police should take tougher action, in order to maintain support, the police should continue its current approach of working with communities in line with the principles of policing by consent.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council outlined official guidance for officers at the end of last month, telling them to “engage, explain, encourage, enforce” when using the new powers.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our police are doing a fantastic job keeping us all safe and protecting the NHS by encouraging the public to stay at home and enforcing the emergency rules where necessary.

“We’re pleased to see the report found that the vast majority of the public support the police in their approach.”

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