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Survey of public views on policing of COVID-19 published

Published : 12/11/2020 17:53:14

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) has today published a new independent survey which indicates strong levels of public confidence and consent for Police Scotland during the first phase of the COVID-19 emergency.

The survey of 1,600 people across the country, commissioned by the Authority and carried out last week, is the first representative sample of public opinion in Scotland on the policing response since the emergency began.

Through a range of questions designed to allow comparison with previous Scottish surveys and recent polling across Great Britain, the survey found:

• Public confidence in policing in Scotland was higher in April 2020 than when compared to the last Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (2017/2018)
• Public support for the approach taken by policing in Scotland to the COVID 19 emergency is higher than a recent YouGov survey finding for Great Britain.

Commenting on the publication of the survey, David Crichton, Vice Chair of the Authority said:

“In these unprecedented times for the country and for policing, it remains vital that there is effective oversight, accountability, and of course also support for the operational policing response. Listening to and understanding the views of the wider public are a key part of good governance and that is why the Authority took steps to commission a representative sample of public views – an initiative we will be repeating twice more in the coming weeks to track the public mood.

“We are publishing the key survey findings today to provide a baseline and there will be an opportunity to review and analyse the detail in the coming weeks alongside other evidence. It is the Authority’s view that we can take comfort and reassurance that the police service is continuing to operate with the consent of, and support of, the majority of the public it serves. We will be seeking the Chief Constable’s views and perspectives on the survey at our next public meeting later this month as we consider the policing contribution that will be required in the complex transitions out of lockdown that lie ahead.”


The survey findings have been shared with Police Scotland, the independent advisory group of temporary police powers chaired by John Scott QC, and with the Scottish Government.

Details on the comparative survey findings can be accessed via the SPA website at this link: SPA Opinion Survey Presentation - April 2020

The full data set will be published on the SPA website on Monday 11 May 2020.

Technical details:

  • The survey was designed by Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research Ltd
  • Invitations were sent to a sample of the ScotPulse panel representative of the Scottish population and a total of 1660 completed responses were received
  • Fieldwork was conducted on 28 April with results analysed on 29 April
  • Results are weighted to the Scottish adult population by gender and age.

A second follow up survey is expected to be publicly available for the full Authority meeting scheduled for 20 May 2020.