Trust levels in the police only 42% in East of England

  • Date

    Tue 30 Apr 24

Two police officers in street

Only 42% of people in the East of England trust their police force, according to new research involving the University of Essex.

This figure compares to the overall figure for England of 41%, according to the research, which appeared in the journal Policing and Society.

Professor Han Dorussen, from the Department of Government, was part of a team of researchers who surveyed more than 8,000 men and women between July 2022 and September 2023, and found women generally trust police more than men. But among the nine English regions surveyed, compared with men, women’s trust is at its lowest in London.

The study also found that in the East of England 42% of men and 44% of white respondents trust the police, which is higher than in the rest of England where 39% of men and 42% of white respondents trust the police.

However, only 28% of respondents from ethnic minorities in the region said they trust the police compared to 32% in the rest of England.

The study spotlighted London’s Metropolitan Police as the area where women trust the least – and Conservative voters have higher levels of trust in the force.

The research, commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), comes after a 2023 investigation triggered by outrage at the rape, abduction and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer, uncovered hundreds of other incidents of violence against women by serving Metropolitan Police Officers.

“For a society to be perceived as stable and safe, trust in the police is crucial, but our research found it’s not the same for everyone,” explained Professor Dorussen. “Some people trust the police more than others depending on factors like age, race, income, politics and past brushes with the law.

“We found that older people have higher levels of trust in the police, while ethnic minorities have significantly lower levels of trust.

“But possibly the most interesting finding is that, like many other studies, we found women generally to be more trusting in the police, but this isn’t the case in London where we found women to trust the Met less than men.” 

Project lead, Brunel University London Honorary Professor Steven Pickering, added: “Overall, our results suggest that there is significant work ahead for police forces generally in England with regards to restoring trust in the police among ethnic minority citizens and in London, especially also among women.”

The work Professor Dorussen and his colleagues have undertaken on trust in the police is part of a wider project measuring trust in a variety of institutions and processes in Japan and England.

Trust Tracker project

The work Professor Dorussen and his colleagues have undertaken on trust in the police is part of a wider project measuring trust in a variety of institutions and processes in Japan and England.

The Trust Tracker project is jointly funded by the ESRC and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Working with colleagues at UK universities Brunel, Amsterdam, Glasgow and Exeter along with colleagues based at Kobe University in Japan, Professor Dorussen helped develop a “trust monitor”, which involves undertaking monthly surveys of English and Japanese adults to track the dynamics of trust over time, and how they correlate with, among other things, attitudes towards the legacy of the COVID-19 crisis.

The research team have now published their findings on a dedicated website - - which includes an “interactive tool” that allows users to track the levels of trust over time. When the project ends in early 2025, there will be 24 monthly surveys with at least 12,000 respondents from each country.

The research team are currently investigating measuring the role of religion in COVID-19 vaccine uptake in England, trust in AI and smart meters and the drivers of individual-level support for migration among Japanese and English voters.