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Fewer than half of Irish people have confidence in the country’s criminal justice system

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Just 45pc of Irish adults have confidence in the effectiveness of the country’s criminal justice system, a survey by the Department of Justice has found.

Confidence was lower among respondents who had previously been the victim of a crime (37pc) and those who live in more disadvantaged areas, according to the first Criminal Justice Public Attitudes Survey.

Fewer than half of those surveyed (49pc) were confident that the department understands the needs of the public in relation to community safety, and 40pc felt it responds quickly to new crime problems.

A total of 61pc of people surveyed in November and December 2021 said they were confident that those accused of a crime are treated as innocent until proven guilty, while 60pc were confident that fair, impartial decisions are made based on evidence.

The survey, which involved face-to-face interviews with a sample of 1,151 individuals, also found that 72pc of respondents believed more gardaí on the streets would make them feel safer in their communities, while better street lighting was identified as more important by 43pc.

Some 51pc of people said using or dealing drugs was a big problem in their local area, while 39pc cited burglary or theft as being the greatest issue. One in three said people being drunk or rowdy in public places was a major local concern.

Females were significantly more worried about being attacked by a stranger than males, with 19pc of women expressing concern compared to 11pc of men.

A total of 18pc of females were also worried about being mugged, compared to 11pc of males.

One in seven respondents said they were worried about being burgled or having their car stolen or broken into.

More than half (55pc) of the people surveyed agreed that gardaí are regularly seen in their local area, although this figure was lower (47pc) in more disadvantaged areas.

The report is intended to provide an overview of public confidence in the criminal justice system and perceptions of crime and community safety.

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