The Policing Authority welcomes the publication of the Garda Síochána Public Attitudes Survey 2016. The survey presents the public’s perceptions of crime but also their sense of reassurance and the impact of those perceptions on their quality of life. The survey is an important source of information for both the Garda Síochána, and the Authority in its oversight role. The attitudes survey is an important means for monitoring the levels of trust and support that exists in the community for its police service. The Survey found that 88% of respondents expressed mid to high level of trust in the Garda Síochána. It also sets out the public’s views as to the Garda Síochána’s effectiveness and capability, and their key concerns regarding policing and its impact on their day to day lives.
The Authority uses the information from this survey very tangibly to inform its work. The establishment by the Authority of annual targets within the Policing Plan includes attitudinal measures such as satisfaction and trust, fear of crime, Garda visibility and perceptions of the Garda Síochána as an organisation. Their inclusion recognises that the public’s experience of policing is a key indicator of the performance and effectiveness of the Garda Síochána.
The 2016 survey finds that of those victims who reported crime, 57% were satisfied with how the Gardaí handled their cases. The Policing Plan 2017 requires the Garda Síochána to achieve 65% in 2017. Stretching targets across all the key attitudinal measures have been set in the 2017 Policing Plan and the Authority monitors progress against the plan on a monthly basis.
Similarly, in setting the Policing Priorities the Authority has, in addition to other sources of information, regard to the views of the public as expressed in the Survey. The 2016 survey finds that sexual offences, illegal weapons and robberies are the key priorities for respondents. The survey outcomes will be taken into consideration by the Authority in preparing the 2018 Policing Priorities and it will enter into a period of public consultation on the priorities thereafter.
The Authority welcomes the expansion of the survey in 2017 to include the views of 16 to 17 year olds.
Speaking about the survey outcomes Chairperson of the Authority, Josephine Feehily said
“We are very fortunate in Ireland that the Garda Síochána continued to enjoy the public’s trust which is vital for the operation of an effective police service. The survey does point to the need to improve the level of service provided to victims and this is something which the Authority is closely monitoring in the context of the 2017 Policing Plan.”