Public satisfied with Gardaí but many want more local policing

Leinster Express Reporter

Reporter:

Leinster Express Reporter

There is a mixed bag of results for the Gardaí in the latest survey of the public with many people satisfied but a substantial percentage of public in the dark about policing in their localities.

The Garda Public Attitudes Survey for the third quarter of 2018 finds that 80% of people are satisfied with the service provided by the local communities, 

The survey also found that 76% of respondents agreed that Gardaí in their area can be relied upon to be there when you need them, and 81% said that the Gardaí in their area listen to the concerns of local people.

However, over one-third of respondents said that community relations with the police were poor and said that the Gardaí are not dealing with the things that matter to people in the local community.

The report found that 33% of respondents were unaware of Garda patrols in their local area. It also found that 40% of people considered Garda presence in their local area to be at about the right level.

Gardaí say 45 per cent of respondents said the organisation provides a 'world-class police service'. 

 Gardaí say that there remains a "notable gap between perceptions of crime levels locally and in the country as a whole". In Q3 2018, 18% considered crime in their local area to be a very serious or serious problem. This compares to 71% of respondents who perceive national crime to be a very serious or serious problem. 

The vast majority of people - 60% - say that fear of crime has no impact on their quality of life. Gardaí claim this has been decreasing over recent survey sweeps. 

The victimisation rate for Q3 2018 stood at 5.5% down from 6.7% year-on-year. Gardaí say satisfaction among victims of crime continues to rise, however, the low sample size means these changes should be interpreted with caution.

The number of people reporting their crime to Gardaí was at 76%. The proportion of victims reporting that they felt the right amount of information had been provided to them stood at 37% during Q3 2018. 

Gardaí say the majority of respondents had positive views about the capability of An Garda Síochána to be friendly and helpful (92%), community-focused (74%), modern or progressive (69%), effective in tackling crime (66%) and well managed (54%).

Commenting on the survey results, Deputy Commissioner, Policing & Security, John Twomey said: "The latest results from the Public Attitudes Survey contain many positives such as a reduction in the number of victims of crime, continuing high levels of trust in An Garda Síochána, and satisfaction with the service we provide to communities. These are all important measures for us in ensuring we provide a policing and security service that protects and supports communities. It is clear from the survey that more work needs to be done in areas such as meeting the needs of local communities and ensuring victims are kept well informed. We will make improvements in those important areas.”

The main findings of An Garda Síochána’s Public Attitudes Survey for Q3 2018 are:

Perceptions of Crime
- 71% of people perceived national crime to be either a very serious or serious problem, compared to 18% of respondents who considered crime in their local area to be a very serious or serious problem

Victims of Crime 
- The victimisation rate was 5.5%. This compares with a rate of 6.7% for the same quarter last year
- Satisfaction among victims of crime who reported their crime to An Garda Síochána stood at 68% during Q3 2018, an increase of 17% from the same period last year 
- During Q3 2018, 76% of victims interviewed said they had reported their most recent crime incident. This is 4% lower compared to Q3 2017
- 37% of victims felt the right amount of information had been provided to them. 

Fear and Worry about Crime 
- More than one in three respondents (35%) reported that they had no fear about crime in general, down from 39% during Q3 2017
- 60% of people reported that their fear of crime had no impact on their quality of life – down from 70% in Q3 2017 
- Half of respondents said they did not worry about becoming a victim of crime whether that is of a crime involving personal injury, property theft or damage, or indeed both– this has remained stable over recent survey sweeps

Garda Visibility 
- 37% of respondents were aware of Garda patrols in their local area
- 40% of respondents considered Garda presence in their local area to be at about the right level

Satisfaction with An Garda Síochána
- 80% of respondents (76% when don’t knows are included) said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with the service provided by An Garda Síochána to local communities
- 76% agreed that Gardaí in their area can be relied upon to be there when you need them and 81% agreed that the Gardaí in their area listen to the concerns of local people
- Approximately 1 in 3 (37%) believed that community relations with police are poor and 43% agreed that police are not dealing with the things that matter to people in this community

Trust in An Garda Síochána 
- During Q3 2018, 91% of respondents stated they had a mid to high level of trust in An Garda Síochána

Equality of treatment 
- 93% of respondents in the Q3 2018 survey said they felt members of An Garda Síochána would treat them with respect if they had contact with them for any reason. There has been a decline in the proportion who strongly agreed with this statement over recent survey sweeps
- When asked if Gardaí in their area treat everyone fairly regardless of who they are, 79% of people agreed. This drops to 66% when don’t know responses are included

Perceptions of the Garda Organisation 
- In Q3 2018, 92% of respondents agreed that members of An Garda Síochána were friendly or helpful (+2% from Q3 2017), 74% agreed that the organisation was community focused (+5% from Q3 2017), 69% thought the organisation was modern or progressive (+4% from Q3 2017), 66% said it was effective in tackling crime (+4% from Q3 2017), 54% said it was well managed (+11% from Q3 2017), and 45% thought An Garda Síochána provides a world-class police service (+4% from Q3 2017)

The Garda Public Attitudes Survey, which is conducted by Amárach Research on behalf of An Garda Síochána, asks a nationally representative sample of 1,500 people each quarter their views on a range of issues relating to An Garda Síochána. The Q3 2018 survey was conducted between July and September of this year.

The Q3 2018 Public Attitudes Survey Bulletin is available from Garda.ie or on request from the Garda Press Office.