55% believe An Garda Síochána effective at tackling crime

Public attitudes survey for first quarter finds 92% have ‘mid to high’ trust in the force

Almost nine out of 10 (88 per cent) of respondents agreed that members of An Garda Síochána were friendly or helpful. Photograph: Alan Betson

Almost nine out of 10 (88 per cent) of respondents agreed that members of An Garda Síochána were friendly or helpful. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Just over half of people believe An Garda Síochána is effective at tackling crime and 38 per cent believe it provides a world-class police service, a survey suggests.

The Public Attitudes Survey for the first quarter of 2017, published on Tuesday, shows a fall over the last year in the number of people who said they were victims of crime alongside improved satisfaction among victims who reported their crime to gardaí, and a reduction in the fear of crime.

Almost nine out of 10 (88 per cent) of respondents agreed that members of An Garda Síochána were friendly or helpful and 65 per cent agreed that the organisation was community focused.

Levels of general satisfaction in the Garda have increased every quarter since the public attitude surveys began at the start of 2016.

This is despite a series of public controversies and a significant decline in confidence among politicians in how the force is being managed.

The Garda Public Attitudes Survey is conducted by Amarach Research for the force using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 people.

Between the first quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of this year there was an improvement in perceptions of the organisations across six measures of effectiveness and capability.

But the survey found a decline between quarter four 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 in terms of the organisation being community focused, modern or progressive, well managed, as well as in the proportion of respondents who agreed it provided a world class police service.

A total of 92 per cent of people had a mid to high level of trust in the first quarter.

Some 60 per cent thought the organisation was modern or progressive and 55 per cent reported that the force was effective in tackling crime.

Management

A total of 43 per cent of those surveyed agreed that the organisation was well managed and 38 per cent thought it provided a world class police service.

This findings around visibility have been largely static since the beginning of last year when the public attitude surveys began.

Back then 64 per cent of respondents believed there was “not enough” Garda presence locally. But 35 per cent it said that presence was “about right”.

In the latest survey data, some 58 per cent believed local Garda presence was “not enough” but 41 per cent - an increase of 6 per cent - say it is “about right”.

In relation to the public’s perception of crime; far more people believed crime was a significant problem nationally than in their own local area.

For the first time, the quarterly survey asked respondents whether they felt members of An Garda Síochána would treat them with respect if they had contact with them for any reason.

A total of 93 per cent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that they would be treated with respect. When asked if gardaí in their area treated everyone fairly regardless of who they are, 84 per cent of people agreed, while 16 per cent disagreed.

“These results are a real demonstration of the positive impact on communities of the great work done by our people on a daily basis,” said Deputy Commissioner John Twomey.

“We will continue to strive to enhance the service we provide to communities on a daily basis and through our modernisation and renewal programme.”

The survey was conducted between January and March.

It is the first time that the quarterly results have been published and An Garda Síochána will continue to publish them on a quarterly basis.

The commencement of a regular public attitudes survey was begun in the wake of damaging Garda Inspectorate reports about Irish policing.