Anti-social behaviour and road traffic offences main concern

THE Londonderry public's major priorities in terms of local policing are anti-social behaviour and road traffic offences though only one in twenty has total confidence in the PSNI's ability to provide an ordinary day-to-day service for all the people of the Foyle area.

Thus are the findings of a new report on public attitudes to policing in the city conducted earlier this year and published last month by the Londonderry District Policing Partnership.

The survey was conducted by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and will now be suggested for discussion as part of the formulation of next year’s Local Policing Plan (2011/12).

Its results are contained in a DPP Public Consultation Report published last month.

Over four thousand questionnaires were issued by NISRA in Londonderry as part of the 2010 survey but only 772 (18 per cent) were returned.

Fifty per cent of respondents were from the Waterside. Twenty eight per cent of the total number of respondents were Protestant and 60 per cent were Catholic.

The DPP 2010 NISRA survey found the public’s main concerns were anti-social behaviour (85 per cent), road traffic offences (63 per cent), burglary (56 per cent), drug dealing and drug use/abuse (56 per cent) and violent crime (36 per cent).

This chimed with the findings of previous surveys with road traffic offences, burglary, drug dealing and violent crime listed as priority issues over the last three years in both local and NI surveys.

The survey also shows confidence in the PSNI has dipped over the year.

Only one in twenty people now have total confidence in the ability of the police to provide an ordinary day-to-day service for all members of the community compared to one in ten people who had total confidence in the police in 2009.

And whilst 68 per cent of householders had at least some confidence in the ability of the police to provide a day-to-day service in 2009 this dipped moderately to 65 per cent in the 2010 survey - a decrease of 3 per cent

The number of householders that had little or no confidence in the PSNI remained the same in the 2009 and 2010 surveys at 28 per cent.

The DPP report points out that the number of householders stating they had no confidence at all in the PSNI almost halved from 10 per cent in 2009 to only 6 per cent in 2010.

Forty two per cent of householders in Foyle thought that the PSNI were doing a good job in the 2009 survey compared to 33 per cent in the 2010 DPP/NISRA Survey.

The number of respondents stating that they did not think that the police were doing a good job in Foyle also reduced from 30 per cent in 2009 to 21 per cent in 2010. Again, a significant reduction of 9 per cent.

The DPP - as part of its consultation process - also engaged with young people in Londonderry through two member/youth interactive sessions at St Joseph’s Boys School and a Public Achievement youth group in St Columb’s Park House.

This engagement found drug-dealing/abuse and violent crime were greater priorities for younger people in Londonderry than for their older counterparts.

The DPP report says the partnership will take into consideration all the findings from the various public consultation surveys and engagements in helping formulate next year’s policing plan.