'A consumer satisfaction survey of the police'

Part of the poll amounts to a consumer satisfaction survey of the police, and overall it emerges with more fans than critics.

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Part of the poll amounts to a consumer satisfaction survey of the police. Since the results are based on the responses only of those who have had any dealings with the police - 388 of the 1,072 total sample - they must be treated with a certain caution. Nonetheless, overall the police emerge with more fans than critics. The respondents were asked to assess officers' qualities in 10 areas.

In each case, a majority found them polite (59 per cent), understanding (47 per cent), competent (38 per cent), kind (37 per cent), professional (37 per cent), fair (37 per cent), caring (36 per cent), prompt (35 per cent), effective (37 per cent) and easy to understand (36 per cent). However, in all but two categories almost a quarter or more of respondents had a negative view of the police, rating the officers they had dealt with as slow (35 per cent), uncaring (28 per cent), hard to understand (28 per cent), incompetent (23 per cent), ineffective (23 per cent), not understanding (23 per cent), unprofessional (22 per cent) and biased (22 per cent).

In all but one category, Arab expatriates had the highest approval of the police, with 50 per cent giving officers a positive rating as an average across all 10 categories. That is compared with 41 per cent of Emiratis, 34 per cent of Asians and only 27 per cent of westerners. Some of this difference may be due to language and cultural issues, since the police employ many officers from other Arab nations. But it is unclear why Emirati approval for the police lags behind that of other Arabs.

Over all 10 categories, 35 per cent of westerners give the police low marks, followed by 26 per cent of Asians, 23 per cent of Emiratis and only 16 per cent of Arab expatriates. The harshest criticisms of the police by Emiratis centre on slowness (36 per cent), professionalism (32 per cent), competence (32 per cent) and bias (30 per cent). Among westerners, 49 per cent believe the police are uncaring, 44 per cent that they are incompetent and 42 per cent that they are both slow and lack understanding. Almost an identical proportion, 31 per cent compared to 30 per cent for Emiratis, suspect the police of bias. However, overall only 11 per cent of all 1,072 respondents say they have been harassed by the police, a proportion that barely varies between nationalities.