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Millions of Brits have turned a blind eye when they have seen fights, robberies and even muggings, a new study has shown. Researchers revealed more than half of British adults have avoided interfering in public altercations – as they just don’t want to get involved.
This is despite one in five of us not trusting our local police force – and as a result, over a quarter have considered taking the law into their own hands on occasion.
Deciding it was ‘a matter for the authorities’ and thinking ‘it was none of their business’ were reasons for not stepping in and helping a stranger in trouble or leaving things to the police.
The research of 2000 Brits showed the typical adult confessed to steering clear of a stranger in distress twice in their lives, but 88% said they would step in as a ‘last resort’ – and happily over 65% of us would help a parent look for a lost child.
Other reasons to stay at arm’s length were stating that ‘There were other people around to help’ and ‘I don’t think I would have been much help’.
The study, launched to mark the release of movie thriller Prisoners on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday found 60% of respondents said that they had no regrets over their lack of assistance.
A spokesman for Prisoners – Jeff Suter at Entertainment One UK – which tells the story of a desperate parent taking the law in to their own hands when their child goes missing said:
“This research shows many adults tend to turn a blind a blind eye if they see an altercation on the street.
“It’s understandable that many would worry about stepping in to help a stranger and taking the law in to their own hands.
“It’s impossible to tell what you are getting involved in, but the results revealed that if and when a loved one was involved far more people – over 66% – would of course be willing to take the law in to their own hands.’’
The study also found that a quarter of suspicious Brits avoid helping strangers in distress because they think it’s a set up.
And almost a third of British adults have admitted to steering clear of couples having an aggressive argument.
Perhaps not surprisingly a quarter have turned away from people in a physical fight.
But bizarrely a quarter of men have even said they would avoid helping a female as they may think they are going to hurt them.
The poll found 19% of those studied said running to aid a stranger in a potentially dangerous situation was a stupid thing to do.
But in contrast 68% wished they had more courage when it comes to helping strangers in distress.
Two thirds said they envied ‘have-a-go’ hero types who are happy to jump in and assist someone in distress.
However, all hope is not lost, as four out of five of us would happily help a stranger if they fell over and almost two thirds would help someone who had fallen off a bike.
But the study also showed that one in five of Brits don’t trust our local police, and forty per cent aren’t satisfied with their response times.
Jeff Suter added:
“It would seem the notion of a good Samaritan is long gone with adults choosing to steer clear of the slightest bit of trouble.
“But emotions seem to run munch higher when family are involved, which is more than understandable.”
Prisoners stars Hugh Jackman as a father facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His six year old daughter has gone missing and knowing her life is at danger disrupts the police investigations by taking matters into his own hands, out now on DVD and Blu-ray.