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Four in ten people think police have corruption problem - new ITV poll

Published: Thu 13 Feb 2014

Four in ten people think police have corruption problem - new ITV poll
 
The OnePoll survey was carried out in January for Can We Trust The Police?: Tonight, which airs tonight (Thursday 13 February) at 7.30pm.
 
Two-fifths of the public believe corruption is now a problem within the police in a new survey which also reveals trust in officers has plummeted after recent high-profile controversies.
 
The poll for ITV’s Tonight programme asked 2,000 people for their views on the police in the light of the reporting of incidents such as ‘Plebgate’, the shooting of Mark Duggan, and the unmasking of Jimmy Savile as a serial sex offender.
 
It found:
 
A total of 39 per cent of those surveyed say they believe there is a problem of corruption within the police.
 
Thirty per cent say they now trust police less since controversies like 'Plebgate', Jimmy Savile and Mark Duggan.
 
One in five - 20 per cent - say they don't believe the police are on their side.
In total, 19 per cent of people surveyed didn't have confidence in the police when they came into contact with them.
 
When asked, 18 per cent would hesitate to report or would definitely not report an issue to the police.
 
Less than half - 44 per cent - were satisfied with the police response when they came into contact with them, and 16 per cent were actively dissatisfied.
 
Featured in the programme is Peter Garrigan, 26, who took the police to court after he was assaulted by an officer at a train station in Liverpool. Officers then fabricated evidence against him to make Peter appear the guilty party.
 
An injured Peter was arrested and taken to a local police station, before being issued with a fixed penalty notice, alleging he’d used abusive and threatening behaviour. Last November, Peter was awarded £13,000 in compensation, and in his first television interview he says:
 
"He grabbed me without any warning that he was going to grab me, hurled me to the corner, and then he attacks me. He’s punching me. I don't know if I am going to end up unconscious, if he’s going to take it too far.
 
"It was my first time for being arrested they said to me, if you pay the eighty pound fine it doesn’t go on your record and you won’t hear any more of it. Well, I thought. 'I don't see why I should accept that I am guilty' when I knew I had nothing wrong. But if I took them to court I could have been found guilty and I would have had a criminal record and I wouldn’t have been able to work for my job. But I took the risk.
 
"Everything they said in court wasn’t matching up with the other statements off the other officers. Like each one was giving a different story. So they made lies up against me to make me look guilty, to explain their situation, why they acted the way they acted. It should have just been me and my brother enjoying the night and then going home at the end of it. Instead I get attacked by a violent police officer."
 
Also featured in the programme is Manizhah Moores, the sister of Bijan Ebrahimi, a man who was beaten to death outside his home by a neighbour who then set his body on fire in Bristol in July. His family believes that police missed several opportunities to help Bijan. He suffered abuse from local residents for being 'different' after arriving from Iran more than a decade ago.
 
Three days before his death, Bijan filmed his neighbour, Lee James, encouraging children to vandalise the flower pots outside his home. Police were called, but three officers arrested Bijan, not James.
 
Bijan was released back to his home – and two days later, the night before he was killed, he recorded a video of James verbally abusing him. James was later sentenced to life in prison for Bijan’s murder. In a new interview for the programme, Manizhah says:
 
“They used to come and break his flowers to make him angry. They used to kick his cat. They used to call him, ‘P--- go home, foreigner, cockroach and you don't belong here, you’ve got to go back home.’
 
“We found out in the airport because we were on holiday with my family and when we came back they told us in the airport that he was murdered. Even till now we can’t imagine that it’s real. You hear these things in the stories you see them in the film but it is not real life you never expect anything like that happen.
 
"He made a complaint and he was the one who was arrested for breaching of the peace and he was released the day after with no further action. And I mean it with no further action from the police. We are angry about this, we are so frustrated. Still to this day we don't know why his calls hadn’t been responded and we would like to know why. He was failed by the police to protect him."
 
Tonight reporter Fiona Foster tackles Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, who declined to comment directly on the Ebrahimi case, on the issue of vulnerable people in general. She says:
 
“Bijan Ebrahimi was clearly a very vulnerable person. Why is it that sometimes it seems that the most vulnerable amongst us don't get the help they deserve?”
 
Ms Mountstevens responds:
 
“We’re all human and I think when, if people continually persist in making complaints maybe, and this is wrong, but maybe we just all turn off a bit and say, ‘Oh well you know its them again.’ So it’s that constant reminder to officers, to PSOs, to the police staff that every time that you come face to face with the public you’ve got to get it right and that integrity of the police is absolutely key and that's what we really are building on at the moment.”
 
An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into Bijan Ebrahimi's death is ongoing.