The Northern Ireland Policing Board (the Board) today published the research and statistical report ‘Northern Ireland Policing Plan Survey – Statistical Report 2023’. It is an Official Statistics publication.
The report is based on a survey of 2,502 adults which took place between January and March 2023. It presents results on perceptions of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs), the Northern Ireland Policing Board (the Board) and the National Crime Agency (NCA).
This is the second survey of this nature, directly commissioned by the Board in relation to the Policing Plan. The report covers the following areas:
WE HAVE A SAFE COMMUNITY
- Nine in every ten people surveyed (93.1%) felt safe in their community. This is a similar result to 2022 when 92.4% of respondents felt safe in their community.
- More than three-quarters (77.0%) thought the PSNI were either effective or very effective at keeping their community safe and this was similar across all age groups. Of those who had been a victim of crime, two in every three (67.2%) felt the PSNI were effective or very effective at keeping their community safe.
- Two in every five people (40.9%) were concerned about crime in their area. This is an increase of 3.2 percentage points from 2022 (37.7%). There was a corresponding reduction in respondents who were unconcerned or very unconcerned about crime in their area (59.0%). This had fallen by 2.4 percentage points since the 2022 report (61.4%).
- Overall, nearly nine in every ten respondents (85.2%) felt safe going into their nearest town centre however the proportion of those who felt unsafe or very unsafe had risen by 3.5 percentage points from 10.6% in 2022 to 14.1% in this survey. Nearly one in five (18.5%) of those in the most deprived multiple deprivation quintile felt unsafe compared to around one in ten (range 11.4% to 14.4%) in other areas.
- The survey asked respondents if they thought the police were visible in their area and over half (55.1%) thought they were. This has fallen by 3.5 percentage points since the 2022 report (58.6%).
WE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN POLICING
- The survey asked if respondents were satisfied with the job the PSNI do in Northern Ireland. Three quarters (71.9%) were satisfied or very satisfied. Less than one in ten were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied (6.3%).
- Two thirds of respondents thought the PSNI treat the public fairly (67.9%), while less than one in ten were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied (7.3%). Victims of crime were three times more likely to be dissatisfied with how the PSNI treat the public (17.4%) than those who were not victims (6.2%).
- Nine in ten respondents (91.1%) were confident in contacting the PSNI if they needed to, however this fell to 78.3% of those who had been the victim of a crime. One in five victims of crime (21.7%) were not very or not at all confident in contacting the PSNI. Of those who had been in contact with the police in the previous two years, half (50%) were satisfied with their interaction.
- The survey asked if respondents felt the PSNI was representative of their community. Nearly three quarters (70.8%) thought it was representative, an increase from two thirds (62.2%) in 2022. Almost one third of nationalists (29.9%) and one fifth of unionists (21.3%) felt the PSNI was not representative of their community.
WE HAVE ENGAGED AND SUPPORTED COMMUNITIES
- Two thirds of respondents thought the PSNI were engaged with the local community (67.9%), this was an increase from the 2022 survey of 4 percentage points (63.7%).
- Three quarters of respondents (74.6%) thought the PSNI was supportive of the local community. This has increased by 6.2 percentage points from 2022 (68.4%).Those who thought the PSNI were not very supportive or not at all supportive had fallen slightly between 2022 (20.5%) and 2023 (19.5%).
- Of those who had been the victim of crime in the last two years, almost all (92.8%) had contacted the police. The main reasons for contacting PSNI were in cases of violence (31.8%), robbery/burglary/theft (29.7%), fraud/scams (16.4%) and motoring offences (11.3%).
- In three quarters of cases the reasons given for contacting the PSNI, other than to report a crime, were for antisocial behaviour or noise issues (22.7%), this was followed by road traffic issues/breakdown (21.9%), advice/report lost and found (15.9%) and for a domestic incident (13.7%).
- Those respondents who had been a victim of a crime in the last two years and who said they had not reported the crime were asked the reason or reasons for this. The most frequent reason given by respondents, was that they didn’t think there was a need to report a crime (29.4%). This was followed by instances where respondents were either afraid to contact PSNI (23.5%) or did not think the police could help them (23.5%).
NI POLICING BOARD, POLICING AND COMMUNITY SAFETY PARTNERSHIPS AND NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY
- Overall awareness of the Policing Board in the current year has fallen to 80%, which is the lowest level since 2014. Of those aware of the Board, half (50.8%) felt they were satisfied with the job the Policing Board do. Almost a quarter (23.9%) were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
- Half of respondents were aware of the National Crime Agency (55.5%) and of those, almost half (46.2%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the job it does in Northern Ireland. This was similar to 2022 (46.7%).
- Just over one third of respondents had heard of PCSPs (37.7%). This was the lowest level since 2014. Of those who had heard, one third of respondents (31.7%) thought the role of PCSPs was to communicate or liaise with local communities. This had increased from one fifth of respondents in 2022 (20.2%). The second most stated role for PCSPs was to improve community safety (29.6%).
Notes for Editors
The Board issue a Policing Plan and a Performance Plan, both are key legislative responsibilities. The Policing Plan outlines three outcomes for policing to deliver to the people of Northern Ireland. The Policing Plan Survey is one method the Board uses to monitor performance and progress in three outcomes:
Outcome 1: We have a safe community.
This is about tackling crime to make communities safer and ensure people feel safe.
Outcome 2: We have confidence in policing.
This is about building community and confidence in the work of the PSNI.
Outcome 3: We have engaged and supportive communities.
This is about building the relationship between police and the community.
The survey also explores the perceptions of the Policing board, National Crime Agency (NCA) and Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs).
Official Statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from any political interference. They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access.
The bulletin is available in PDF format from either the Northern Ireland Policing Board website https://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/policing-plan-survey or by writing to Northern Ireland Policing Board, James House, Block D, 2-4 Cromac Avenue, The Gasworks Belfast BT7 2JA or email: email@example.com
For any further information about this publication please contact the the Northern Ireland Policing Board Communications Branch on 028 9040 8500.