The views of crime victims and non-Irish people about gardaí will be directly sought in a regular survey about to be undertaken for the force.
An Garda Síochána wants the telephone survey of at least 1,500 people carried out every three months to monitor satisfaction and trust in the service, seek views on crime, and to gather suggestions on how the force’s work can be improved.
Among the key areas to be examined will be attitudes on how well the force is managed, its focus on tackling crime, and its efforts to improve.
Members of the public, who must be a representative sample of different social classes, will also be asked if they believe crime is a serious problem in Ireland or not, and whether they believe the service is community-focused, modern, progressive, friendly, and helpful.
There will be five questions to be answered only by anyone who has been a victim of a crime in the last year, or who has had a household member affected by crime, including details of the type of incident involved.
Those respondents will be asked how satisfied or otherwise they were with the way the incident was dealt with overall, and specifically about how well they were kept informed of progress in the case.
Sally Hanlon, founder and director of Support After Crime Services, welcomed the opportunity being given to victims to share their opinions.
“The level of contact and appropriate feedback [from gardaí] would be the main things that people we deal with have issues with,” said Ms Hanlon.
“If they can improve on that, isn’t it great, because I think possibly, people are stretched.”
The service works with victims in Cork, Limerick, south Tipperary, Waterford, and Clare, and helped around 1,600 people last year.
The survey will be expected to present the findings among non-Irish nationals, and distinguish people’s views on the basis of gender and the social class.
Participants will also be asked if they have heard about recent initiatives from An Garda Síochána, such as campaigns on safe driving, protecting homes from burglary or mobile phones from theft, and local crime prevention advice.
They will also be asked how effective they believe those Garda campaigns have been.
1,500 adults will be asked to rank how these functions should be prioritised by gardaí in their communities.
-Foot or bike patrols
-Enforcing traffic laws
-Crime prevention advice
-Enforcing drugs laws
-Dealing with public annoyances (e.g. loud music, street fights)
-Dealing with vandalism
-Dealing with violent crime
-Dealing with domestic and sexual violence
-Targeting organised crime
-Supporting victims of crime
-Supporting community groups (youth clubs, Julyneighbourhood watch, schools)
-Dealing with underage drinking.
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