Findings of 'overall confidence' in PSNI welcomed by chief


THE PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott has welcomed a new survey that has found there is increasing public confidence in the police and its watchdog bodies.

Four out of five people now have “overall confidence” in the PSNI and its accountability arrangements, according to a report by the Northern Ireland Statistical and Records Agency.

The agency’s quarterly report on confidence in the police and criminal justice system showed an increase of 2 per cent in overall confidence in the PSNI and in its accountability arrangements – from 78.1 per cent in September 2010 to 80.2 per cent in September this year.

The agency uses seven indicators to reflect the level of confidence in the PSNI and in the policing board and the Police Ombudsman. The three indicators that refer specifically to the police all showed increases in the period to September.

The percentage of people who feel that the PSNI provides an “ordinary day-to-day service” increased from 80.7 per cent to 84 per cent while the percentage who feel the police do a “fairly or very good job” rose from 66.7 per cent to 71.3 per cent.

Those who feel that the PSNI “treat Catholics and Protestants equally” increased from 79.2 per cent to 82.7 per cent.

In relation to confidence in the policing board and Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson, there is only marginal difference between September this year and last year. Just over 73 per cent believe the board is independent of police while 81.3 per cent feel the board ensures the PSNI does a good job.

While the ombudsman Mr Hutchinson, who is due to retire shortly, has been under severe pressure this year, the confidence levels in him and his office are quite high.

A total of 86.5 per cent believe he is independent of the PSNI while 86.2 per cent feel he helps ensure the police do a good job.

Chief constable Mr Baggott said the rise in confidence was due to the “tireless work by police officers and communities” across Northern Ireland. “We still face challenges but I can assure every member of the public that we will strive to deliver the service they need, expect and deserve,” he said.