Belfast Telegraph

More Catholics satisfied with policing in Northern Ireland

The proportion of Catholics satisfied with police in Northern Ireland has increased by seven percentage points.

The percentage of Protestants happy with the PSNI rose by a similar amount, a survey by the Policing Board found.

Overall almost three-quarters of those asked thought the force was doing a good job.

Policing Board chairwoman Anne Connolly expressed concern about the impact of the political stalemate at Stormont.

"Not having a fully constituted board for the last number of months is concerning and means that the PSNI have not been subjected to the rigour and strength of scrutiny that the public have rightly come to expect and value.

"Whilst a limited programme of oversight work has been taken forward over the last period of time, having the model of police accountability with both political and independent membership is crucial to discharging our legislative functions."

An Omnibus survey on public perception of policing conducted in April and published on Tuesday said the percentage of Protestants who were very or fairly satisfied saw a statistically significant increase from 77% in April 2016 to 85% in April this year.

The percentage of Catholics who were very or fairly satisfied also saw a statistically significant increase to 73% from 66%.

One of the aims of dissident republicans is to deter Catholics from supporting policing.

Other survey results included:

:: 74% thought the PSNI was doing a very or fairly good job in their area. More than three-quarters were very or fairly satisfied that the PSNI treated members of the public fairly

:: 90% had total or some degree of confidence in the PSNI's ability to provide a day-to-day service for all in Northern Ireland while 93% indicated they felt safe

The survey also reported on public perceptions of the role and work of the Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs) which involve local police and residents across Northern Ireland.

Mrs Connolly said: "PCSPs continue to work hard in local areas and it is disappointing that the level of awareness of their work is low with less than half respondents having heard of them.

"The Department of Justice and the board have been impressed by the range of projects that the PCSPs are progressing in local areas but clearly more attention needs to be focused on informing and engaging people about their role and work."

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: "The Police Service of Northern Ireland is a smaller organisation which means we have to understand and prioritise the demands from the public and continually strive to be more effective and efficient.

"This isn't easy but this report shows that police officers and staff working hard on the ground with their local communities are making a real impact on people's lives."

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