It comes at a time when the State has just enacted legislation enshrining rights of victims in their interactions with justice agencies, including the gardaí.
The latest Garda quarterly public attitudes survey found that in the third quarter of this year only 36% of people believe the organisation is “well managed”, down from 41% in Q4 2016.
The vast majority of people still said they found the gardaí “friendly or helpful”, though the rate is down slightly from 87% to 84%.
In addition, some 55% of people said the gardaí were “effective in tackling crime”, up from 50% in Q3 2016.
In relation to experiences of crime, the survey — conducted by Amárach Research on behalf of the gardaí — found that 6.7% of people said they were victims of crime in Q3 2017, down from 7.8% in the same period in 2016.
Some 21% of people thought crime in their local area was a very serious or serious problem, down from 23%. In comparison, 76% thought crime nationally was a very serious or serious problem (77% in Q3 2016).
Only half of victims who reported their crimes to gardaí were satisfied with how it was handled. This was a drop of 14 percentage points from Q3 2016.
Seven out of 10 people said fear of crime had no impact on their quality of life and four out of 10 said they do not worry about becoming a victim of crime.
The majority of people (55%) said they were unaware of Garda patrols locally (54% in 2016), while 60% said there was not enough Garda presence in their area (64%).
Some 69% of people were satisfied with the service provided by An Garda Síochána (68% in 2016), while 89% had either medium trust or high trust in the force (90%).
In relation to perceptions of the organisation, there was an improvement in three of the six measures, with slight increases in those who thought the organisation was “community focused” (up one point to 63%) and those who thought it was “modern and progressive” (up two points to 58%).
There was also an increase (up five points to 55%) in those who thought the force was effective in tackling crime.
There were falls in the friendliness or helpfulness of gardaí (down three points to 84%) and a five-point fall in those who thought the organisation was “well managed”.
Just 35% thought the organisation provided a “world class service” (unchanged).
Commenting, Deputy Commissioner, Security and Policing, John Twomey said: “It is very welcome that the survey shows less people are saying they have been victims of crime and perceptions of crime as being a serious problem nationally and locally are falling.”
However, he said this did not mean they were complacent: “Far from it. As we head into winter, we need to work even harder to ensure the communities we serve —both rural and urban — feel protected and are protected.”
He added: “After improvements in victim satisfaction in previous quarters, it is a concern to see such a large fall in victim satisfaction.”