14 December 2005

Fall in public confidence in the PSNI, says survey

Belfast Telegraph

By Ashleigh Wallace
14 December 2005

Confidence in the PSNI's ability to deal with public order offences has taken a nose-dive since the Whiterock Parade and the riots which followed, it emerged today.

The Policing Board today published the results from the September 2005 Omnibus Survey which questions members of the public about, amongst other issues, on their perceptions of the service delivered by the PSNI.

A total of 1,062 people across Ulster were surveyed at random by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Respondents were asked about a range of issues, including policing.

And when asked about how much confidence they had in the PSNI's ability to deal with public order situations, 67% said they had some, a lot or total confidence - which is down from 79% compared to findings from the same survey conducted in April.

In addition, 78% had some, a lot or total confidence in the PSNI's ability to provide a day-to-day policing service for everyone, which was down from 83% in April.

Acknowledging a fall in the public's confidence, Policing Board chairman Sir Desmond Rea said: "For many reasons, some of the results from this latest survey are not particularly surprising given that the survey was scheduled for September and was carried out within days of the serious disturbances following the Whiterock parade.

"The level and intensity of the violence directed at the police, the wanton damage caused to property and the resulting disruption to the public's ability to go about their normal everyday business has affected views on policing and is likely to have had an impact on the findings."

Other findings revealed that six out of ten people surveyed thought the PSNI did a very/fairly good job across Northern Ireland - a 3% decrease on April's survey - while 55% thought the police did a very/fairly good job in their area, marking a 2% decrease.

In addition, 71% of respondents thought the Policing Board was working at adequately, while 70% thought the Board was independent of the PSNI, which is a 4% increase from April.

Sir Desmond said: "In the months ahead, the Policing Board will continue to oversee the work of the PSNI and identify any areas which will assist in improving the perceptions and views of the wider community on the work of the PSNI, the Board and the District Policing Partnerships."

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