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Do you trust the gardaí? The gardaí's own survey claims nearly 90% of us do

Most people were surveyed before the Templemore and whistleblower scandals came to light.

Image: Philip Fitzpatrick 086-1683832

DESPITE A NUMBER of high-profile garda controversies, a new report released by the force shows that 9 out of 10 people have a mid-to-high level of trust in officers.

The survey, carried out by Amárach Research on behalf of An Garda Siochána, asked 6,000 people to assign a number between 1 and 10 to quantify their level of trust in the force as a whole.

During 2016, 11% of respondents reported that they had low trust in gardaí, 47% reported mid level of confidence, while 41% said they had high levels of trust in the force. Just 1% of respondents did not know or provided no response when asked.

garda trust Source: Garda Press Office

The levels of trust people had in the force varied by gender and socio-economic background, according to the report.

Women had slightly higher levels of trust with 43% expressing a ‘high’ level of confidence in the organisation compared with 39% of men. Older people were also more likely to have confidence in the force.

Trust

However, different social classes also produced different levels of confidence.

For examples, farmers were more likely to express ‘high’ trust in the organisation while 14% of respondents in social class grouping C2, which includes skilled manual workers such as bricklayers and hairdressers, expressed low trust in the force.

However, the research was conducted in quarters, meaning that 1,500 people were surveyed every three months of the year last year. It is important to note that many of the more serious garda controversies have occurred in the last six months of this year and late last year so the attitudes of the public following these scandals can’t yet be gauged.

In the last nine months a Tribunal has been set up to investigate whether senior gardaí set out to smear the name of whistleblower Maurice McCabe. Serious financial irregularities have also been revealed at the garda college in Templemore.

According to the Public Attitudes Survey, fewer people in Ireland were victims of crime in 2016. Overall, 57% of victims were happy with how gardaí handled their case in 2016. More victims felt that sufficient information was provided to them in 2016 compared to 2015. However, satisfaction with how quickly the gardaí respond to incidents dropped by 3% to 60%.

Those who responded to the survey “continue to feel that crime nationally is a very serious or serious problem”, according to the survey.

Throughout 2016, levels of fear of crime and worry about victimisation decreased. In Q1 2016 43% of people said they either had a lot of fear or some fear about crime, by the end of the year, this had fallen to 32%. However, crime types the public would like gardaí to prioritise most are robberies (91%), sexual offences (91%) and illegal weapons (90%).

Read: Two more men arrested by armed gardaí in investigation into Lucan park murder >

Read: Company fined €300,000 over death of worker at Corrib gas tunnel >

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