16/12/2009

Police Losing Public's Confidence

The public's confidence in NI policing is slowing, according to the latest Independent Omnibus Survey.

Published yesterday, it looked at how the public rate the service delivered by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the NI Policing Board (the Board) and the District Policing Partnerships (DPPs).

Figures show that the percentage of people who have confidence in the PSNI's ability to provide an ordinary day-to-day policing service for all the people of Northern Ireland has dropped to 80% (87% in April 2009) while 56% of people surveyed think the police are doing a good job in their area (64% in April 2009).

Just 71% of respondents were very/fairly satisfied that the police treat members of the public fairly in Northern Ireland as a whole.

Speaking about the survey, carried out during September 2009, Chairman of the Board, Barry Gilligan, said: "These independent surveys provide an important measure of community perceptions of policing

"This drop in public confidence and performance levels will be of concern to the Board; however the Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, (pictured above) has laid out plans to refocus resources to improve the policing service delivered to the community and deal with community crime concerns.

"All of this work is underpinned by the need to build confidence in policing," he said.
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The Northern Ireland Policing Plan 2009-2012 includes a target to increase the percentage of people who say they feel safe in their local community, which is based on the September 2008 finding of 93%.

This target was not achieved, as the survey found that 88% of respondents felt very/fairly safe in their local community, the same as the April 2009 finding.

In relation to DPPs, 62% of people surveyed had heard of DPPs. Of those who had heard of DPPs, 72% had at least some confidence that they help address local policing problems, and 54% said they were prepared to contact their DPP regarding local policing issues.

Mr Gilligan added: "DPPs are the forum for local people to discuss and shape the delivery of policing in their area. DPPs work across Northern Ireland to help improve policing services to the community and I would encourage the public to get involved and have their say."

Findings in respect of the Policing Board have remained fairly consistent with those in the April 2009 survey and 87% of respondents had heard of the Board.

Whilst 82% of respondents correctly thought that the Board’s primary role is "to oversee policing and hold the Chief Constable and the PSNI publicly to account" only 43% thought it did well/very well in monitoring how the PSNI performs against Annual Policing Plan targets.

Speaking about the Board findings Mr Gilligan said: "Board Members are committed to ensuring that all communities get access to the best possible police service.

"Through its oversight and accountability role, the Board and its Members will continue to work on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland to ensure that the policing service meets community needs."

(BMcC/KMcA)

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