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Four in 10 victims of crime ‘not happy’ with gardai-handling of case – survey

Four in 10 victims of crime are not happy with the way their cases are handled by gardai, a damning survey of attitudes to the force has revealed.

The report found that 57% of people who had suffered at the hands of criminals were satisfied with how it had been dealt with by officers but 41% were dissatisfied.

The extensive research of public opinions found a quarter of the 682 people who fell foul of crime in the previous year d id not report it to gardai.

The public attitude survey, which last year canvassed views of 6,000 people nationwide, found crimes, assaults, vandalism and other offences were most often not reported because people thought gardai could do nothing, that they would do nothing or that the incident was not serious enough to make a statement.

About one-third of people surveyed disagreed that the force was community focused, modern and progressive or that it was effective in tackling crime.

The survey also showed that a minority of people – 38% – believed that the force provided a world class police service.

Garda management previously told the Policing Authority that one-third of 18 to 24-year-olds who had dealings with gardai were dissatisfied with how they or their case had been handled.

The surveying is continuing this year with interviews with 1,500 people every three months and it will also include people’s perceptions of police visibility and their fear of crime.

The Garda said the survey from last year showed strong trust in the force, particularly among local communities.

“W e still have more work to do in ensuring victims are getting the information they want on the progress of their case and the supports available to them,” a Garda spokesman said.

Focus groups involving victims of crime will also be used in the future to assess attitudes in more detail.

On public expectations of how the Garda operates, the survey found people were keen for officers to focus on crime against the person more than other offences.

People who were interviewed said sexual assaults, human trafficking and assaults were a higher priority for them than crimes against property.

Low priorities included public order, traffic offences and criminal damage.

The Garda also said the 2015 survey would be used to show how the force progressed over the next few years.

Among the other key findings were:

:: Almost one-third of people believed crime was a “very serious” problem in Ireland

:: But in local areas only 7% regarded it as “very serious”

:: The survey identified 682 victims of crime with a quarter having been burgled, a fifth experiencing criminal damage and 9% victims of assaults

:: 26% did not report the crime and of those who did, 57% were satisfied with how the case was handled and 41% were dissatisfied

:: One-third recalled getting a reference number for their case from the Pulse or getting information for victims’ services

:: 23% of people surveyed were dissatisfied with the service provided by gardai

:: 85% had a medium to high level of trust in the force

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:: 81% felt gardai were friendly or helpful; 61% felt the force was community focused; 59% agreed it was modern and progressive; and 57% that it was e ffective in tackling crime.

Some of the findings of the survey were revealed at a public hearing of the Policing Authority earlier this year which urged Garda management to publish the research in full.

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