Majority satisfied with Garda service

Seven out of 10 people believe the Garda Síochána needs to be improved, a survey carried out for the force reveals. But 81% of the population are satisfied with the overall service provided to the community.

The Garda Public Attitudes Survey, published tomorrow, also shows almost one in the 10 people believe a Garda officer has acted unacceptably towards them.

The poll by Millward Brown IMS saw 10,000 participants interviewed – 400 in each of the 25 Garda divisions – by face-to-face interviews between January and April of this year.

The overall satisfaction rate remained the same as last year with the lowest rates of satisfaction with the force among those in local authority housing.

Some 72% of respondents felt the Garda service needed improvement, the most frequent suggestions being for more officers, more foot patrols, more contact with the community and longer station opening hours.

Nine out of ten people (91%) described their local gardai as either very approachable or approachable while only four in ten (39%) knew an officer in the nearest station by name.

Some 8% of the population said a Garda member had acted in an unacceptable way towards them at some time, similar to the figure in last year’s poll.

This rate was highest in the Dublin divisions, with 14% of respondents in Dublin south central reporting unacceptable Garda behaviour against them compared with just 2% in Mayo.

The most frequent type of unacceptable behaviour was that a Garda had been disrespectful or impolite.

Fewer than half (44%) of those who reported crime were satisfied with being kept informed of progress in the investigation, the survey found.

For those who called the gardai in an emergency, telephone response times had improved on the last three years but overall satisfaction with the call-out service was down 5% to 65%. Victim rates remained almost the same with 9.2% of the population, down very slightly, saying they or someone in their home had been targeted by criminals last year.

Crime rates were more than double the national average in the Dublin south central division, which along with Longford/Westmeath had the highest number of victims.

Mayo, Cork West, Clare and Sligo/Leitrim, at less than half the national average, recorded the lowest level of victims.

Domestic burglary, criminal damage to a vehicle, physical assault, criminal damage to a home or other property and theft from vehicle were the most prevalent crimes.

Just over half (53%) of respondents said they saw a Garda in their locality in the previous week with 65% satisfied with Garda visibility in the area, a 3% improvement on the previous year.

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