Thursday 18 January 2018

Public doubt over garda management, as new survey highlights impact of high-profile scandals

Less than half of the public think that An Garda Siochana is well managed after turbulent start to the year

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Less than a half of the public think that An Garda Siochana is well managed, in a report that highlights the impact of a number of high-profile scandals within the force over the past year.

The Garda Public Attitudes Survey revealed that just 43 per cent of the public think that the gardai are well managed.

The survey of a representative sample of 1,500 people was carried out by Amárach research and covers the first three months of this year.

It was taken before a turbulent year of high-profile scandals were revealed by the media.

These scandals include one million false breath tests, 14,000 wrongful convictions, whistleblower allegations, Garda Commissioner Nóirín OSullivan's appearance before the Public Accounts Committee and the subsequent publication of a highly critical report.

The survey also shows that despite these revelations, 92pc of respondents stated they had a mid to high level of trust in An Garda Síochána.

Crime

Just 55pc of those believed the force was effective in tackling crime and a third did not agree it was community-focused.

The survey also found a reduction in the number of people who said they were victims of crime and a decrease in the fear of crime.

There was an increase in the number of victims prepared to report a crime but a large number (43pc) who felt they were not getting the right information on their case.

Three quarters (74pc) of those surveyed felt crime was a serious or very serious problem and more than half of them worried about it.

Garda visibilty

Some 64pc of the public said they were not aware of garda patrols in their local area, showing the absence of gardai on the streets. More than half (59pc) said they did not feel that there were enough gardai in their area.

Garda perceptions

88pc of respondents agreed that members of An Garda Síochána were friendly or helpful.

93pc of respondents agreed that they would be treated with respect. When asked if Gardaí in their area treat everyone fairly regardless of who they are, 84pc of people agreed, while 16pc 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, Policing & Security, John Twomey.

"The reduction in the number of people who reported their crime to Gardaí and the improvement in satisfaction with the service we provided to victims shows the importance of our strong focus on tackling key crimes and on the victims of crime. We will continue to strive to enhance the service we provide to communities on a daily basis and through our Modernisation and Renewal Programme.”  

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