12/12/2012 08:36 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Two Thirds Of Brits Would Walk-On-By Rather Than Confront Troublemakers

Have-a-go heroes? No - two-thirds of Brits would walk-on-by rather than confront troublemakers Corbis

It's a question few of us face, but most of us ask ourselves: what would you do if you saw a gang of troublemakers in the street? Confront them? Or walk-on by?

If your answer is the latter, your're not alone – for two-thirds of Britons feel the same.

According to a poll by YouGov, 64 per cent of Brits would ignore a gang of teens who were drinking and verbally abusing passers-by rather than become have-a-go heroes.

Nationally, only 27 per cent would step in, and in London, that figure drops to 20 per cent.

The report, commissioned by the Policy Exchange, paints a picture of the public's lack of willingness to participate in the fight against crime. In fact, in the past two years alone, the number of citizens' arrests has halved.

In millions of cases, they do not even report crimes – potentially because they do not believe they will be solved or taken seriously.

The survey also revealed that 74 per cent of chief constables thought the public could do more in terms of reporting crime and disorder and 94 per cent thought the public could provide more intelligence.

The author, Edward Boyd, wants Citizen Police Academies to be set up to train the public – using a mixture of police officers and voluntary groups with relevant expertise – on how to play their part in the fight against crime.

These would be taught everything from how to perform citizen's arrests safely to how to avoid danger when walking home alone.

He said: "The police will always play the central role in the fight against crime, yet the public still has a part to play."It's quite understandable that most people feel reluctant to be a 'have-a-go' hero and it is important that they have the confidence to intervene and know when it is appropriate."