Are Derbyshire folk getting less trustworthy?

Village 20mph road signs.  Church Road, Warton.
Village 20mph road signs. Church Road, Warton.

University honesty study gets us talking about how willing we are to lie and cheat

A NEW study by the University of Essex claims that more and more Brits are lying and cheating than ten years ago.

fakern, NEWS...11/2/2000'The fake (left) one pound coin is pictured next the a real one.

fakern, NEWS...11/2/2000'The fake (left) one pound coin is pictured next the a real one.

Reporter Julia Rodgerson spoke to the people of Derbyshire to see if the county is as dishonest as the rest of the nation.

Lying, faking qualifications, driving faster than the speed limit, keeping money you found in the street and pulling a sickie – these are just some of the things our readers admitted to during a survey on dishonesty.

But are Derbyshire folk really becoming less trustworthy?

According to researchers at the University of Essex more and more of us are taking a wrong turn and many of us are more willing to lie and cheat than we were a decade ago.

The survey, which repeated questions asked in 2000 in a large-scale study of citizenship, revealed the public are now more tolerant towards a range of misdemeanours such as having an extramarital affair, drink driving or failing to leave a contact after damaging a parked car than they were ten years ago.

The proportion who said picking up money found in the street was never justified dropped from almost four out of ten in 2000 to fewer than two in ten in 2011.

Derbyshire Times Facebook friend Keith Skidmore said: “The odd coin, fifty pence or pound yes, unless I knew who dropped it. £5 upward inform police or take it to them, if not claimed then I believe you could claim it.”

Marie Woody England added: “Me and my mate Kerry found a wallet with £300 in a garden centre, We handed it straight in Scouts honour and we got a reward for it too.”

According to the national survey around half thought falsifying a job application could sometimes be justified.

And most of our Facebook friends said they had not made up qualifications on a job application –although one admitted they had “exaggerated the truth once.”

Nationally some of the greatest levels of censure were directed at dropping litter, drink driving and falsely claiming government benefits, with more than eight out of ten respondents saying these activities could never be justified.

The study, the first of its kind, researched all aspects of honesty in society amid fears the nation is heading for an “integrity crisis”.

But are Derbyshire Times readers as bad as the national average?

Our question “Have you ever lied to have a day off work?” – sparked a lively debate.

While several agreed with Kent Harris who said: “No – work is a team effort. Each must work to their best ability for the other members of the team as much as for one’s self.”

One said: “It doesn’t make you a bad person for skiving the odd day off, no excuses I just didn’t want to go and do my 12 hour stint, went out with friends had a damn good time, went back the next day. No guilt at all.”

And another of our Facebook friends said: “Yep! Am entitled to three sickies a year. Might as well use them.”

Honest Facebook friends also confessed to not reporting accidental damage they had done to parked cars.

What do you think of the findings? Are Derbyshire residents becoming more dishonest?

To see the full results and take our integrity test go to www.facebook.com/derbyshiretimes

l We hit the streets of Chesterfield to find out if you think we’re becoming a less honest nation – and asked a few of our integrity test questions – would you keep money you found in the street, have you ever driven faster than the speed limit and have you ever lied to have a day off work?

Gillian Fryer, 66, of Chesterfield, said: “I think people are getting more dishonest. I think it’s due to all the things that are going wrong in the country.

“I’ve not found it personally but I hear about it on the television.

“If I saw someone drop money in the street I think I would give it back to them.”

Kerry Margereson, 22, of Chesterfield, said: “I think people are definitely becoming more dishonest. What with all the cover-ups that MPs are doing - they are running the country and we’re supposed to look up to them, how do they expect everyone else to behave?

“Some people think only five miles over the speed limit is alright but the speed limit is there for a reason.”

Maurice Jarvis, 82, of Bolsover, said: “I lost my wallet and someone pushed it back through my letter box. I believe over-all there are more honest people than dishonest.

“I’d definitely give someone their money back if I saw them drop it.

“I won’t say I’ve never driven over the speed limit but when all is said and done one mistake can be too many.”

Amelia Robinson, 18, of Chesterfield, said: “I think I’m an honest person. I always admit when I’m in the wrong.

“I’ve never taken a day off work when I wasn’t ill. I’d never do that but know people who have.

“If I saw someone drop money I’d like to think I’d give it back to them but if you just find money in the street I think I’d keep it.”

Mark Mcveigh, 44, of Mansfield, said: “We found a wallet on holiday and took it back to their house. It had all their bank cards in and I know how I’d feel if I lost mine.”

Michelle Mcveigh, 39, of Mansfield, said: “I would never take a day off work if I wasn’t ill - I like my job too much and I’d feel guilty. I know people who do it and it can be a nightmare as everyone else has to pick up their work.”

julia.rodgerson@derbyshiretimes.co.uk