Public attitudes to police behaviour and complaints

Published Date: 19.07.2001

The Police Ombudsman’s Office has issued the findings from its latest research into the Northern Ireland public’s attitude to police behaviour and its awareness of the new system for making complaints against the police.
The research suggests that 65% of the population are now aware of the Police Ombudsman’s Office – an increase of 7% on a similar survey carried out last October. In particular, there’s been a rise in the proportion of young people (aged under 25) who know about the Office, from 23% to 35%. The vast majority of the people (83%) who are aware of the Office are also aware that it is independent of the police.
The research also looked at how people felt about the way they had been treated by the police when they had dealings with them. The findings show that the great majority of people (83%) had not  experienced any behaviour from police officers that could be described as unacceptable.
However, 17% of people questioned said that a police officer had at some time behaved towards them in a way they thought was unacceptable. Religion and age seemed to be two of the most important factors in such cases.
Catholics were more likely than Protestants to say that a police officer had behaved towards them in an unacceptable way: 22% of Catholics in the survey reported such behaviour, as opposed to 14% of Protestants.
When those who said they had experienced police misconduct were questioned in more detail, similar  proportions of Catholics and Protestants said that a police officer had at some time been disrespectful or impolite to them.
However, 25% of Catholics who said they had experienced police misconduct said they had been stopped and searched for no reason, whereas 10% of Protestants who reported police misconduct made this claim.
Futher Information: Police Ombudsman Media Officer Tim Gracey.
Tel: 029 90828604 or Mobile: 07773 112 734


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