What do you think of the police in the UK? How are they different from the police in your country? Have you ever spoken to a police officer? Are you worried about crime in your area?
In this activity you will read about different people’s attitudes to the police.
Helena is 45 and lives in Bristol
I think the police in the UK are friendly and helpful. Last week I was lost in a strange area of Bristol and I asked a policewoman for help. She was very helpful and showed me where to go. What I like about the police in this country is that they don’t usually carry guns. In my country the police do carry guns and I think they are very frightening .They are also corrupt. If they stop you for speeding in your car you can pay them some money, and they will forget about it. I don’t think this would happen in the UK.
My sister was mugged on a bus last year. The muggers stole her handbag with all her money, papers and keys. She wasn’t hurt but she was really upset. She reported the theft to the police and they were very kind. However, unfortunately they were unable to catch the muggers. They said that thousands of crimes like this happen every year in the city and it is impossible to solve all of them.
Abdul is 19 and lives in East London
I don’t trust the police. I think they don’t respect black people. They have stopped and searched me twice in the last year for no reason – I think it’s just because I am black. They are polite when they stop me but I don’t think it’s fair that they are always stopping and searching young black men. We are not all criminals.
Last month a friend and I were walking home from the shops at about 10 o’clock at night when we were attacked by a gang of young men from another estate. They had knives and we were terrified. We managed to get away from them and my friend called the police, but I don’t think they believed our story and they didn’t do anything to help us. I think we don’t trust them because they don’t trust us.
Amina is 80 and lives in Glasgow
I live alone in a fourth floor flat on a big estate. I am terrified to go out after dark because they are always groups of young people behaving very badly on the estate. There is a lot of vandalism – they break windows and write graffiti on walls. I know some of them carry knives and even guns. I would like to see more police on the estate at night. I feel safe when I see a police officer, but I don’t see them very often.
Two years ago there was a burglary in my flat – the burglars broke the window and stole my DVD player and some jewellery. I called the police and they came very quickly and were very helpful. They gave me some useful advice about how to prevent burglaries happening in the future. And they caught the burglars! The police put me in touch with an organisation called ‘Victim Support’ who helped me a lot. I had to go to court to speak about what happened to me and they helped me to know what to say.