The findings, drawn from interviews with nearly 2000 people during October 1993, also indicate that around three in four people are very or fairly satisfied with the service they receive. This is similar to the figure in an earlier survey - carried out in November 1992.
Home Secretary Michael Howard said the survey shows that police efforts to improve their quality of service to the public are paying off.
Mr Howard said: 'Police officers have a very responsible job. They come into contact with people who are emotional, distressed or who have suffered loss or injury. It is doubly important then that the public they serve are treated fairly, sensitively and as individuals.
The main findings of the survey are:
- The level of public satisfaction appears to have stabilised over the past few years, with around three in four people very or fairly satisfied with police service delivery; - Dissatisfaction is also steady, averaging around 16%-17%;
- 44% of the sample reported having contacted the police in the previous 12 months, and 25% had been contacted by the police;
- Public satisfaction with the police has increased markedly in terms of: politeness (up 19% to 60% since November 1992); professionalism and competence (up 14% to 34%); and taking problems seriously (up 10% to 32%).
There were lesser increases in satisfaction with 'prompt response', 'answering people's questions' and 'showing an interest'.
- Fewer people complained of lack of interest (down 14%); and lack of politeness (down 7%)
- Reasons for dissatisfaction that have risen since last year are failure to recover property (up 6%); and failure to apprehend an offender (up 10%).
Other reasons for dissatisfaction were 'failure to prevent an offence' and 'not being taken seriously'.
- The majority of people (56%) say that direct personal experience, rather than the media, was the main influence on their view of the police.