‘Findings from the 2022/23 Northern Ireland Safe Community Telephone Survey’ (NISCTS)

Date published: 28 March 2024

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published Research and Statistical Bulletin ‘Findings from the 2022/23 Northern Ireland Safe Community Telephone Survey’ (NISCTS).

An Official Statistics publication, the bulletin focuses on key modules contained within the NISCTS relating to:

  • experience of crime.
  • perceptions of crime.
  • perceptions of policing and justice.
  • perceptions of organised crime.

Key Findings

  • While results from the 2022/23 NISCTS indicate that most adults/households did not experience a crime asked about in the survey, the proportion showed a statistically significant increase when compared with the previous year. Latest findings estimate 5.1% were victims of at least one crime measured through the survey during the 12 months prior to interview, up from 3.8% in 2021/22. An estimated 80,000 incidents of crime occurred during the 12-month recall periods for NISCTS 2022/23.
  • NISCTS 2022/23 respondents were again more positive in their perception of crime trends in their local area than at the regional level. Just over a fifth, 22%, believed local crime levels had increased in the preceding two years, a proportion which fell from 25% the previous year. This compares with 60% considering crime in Northern Ireland as a whole to have risen.
  • Findings indicate that 6% of participants perceived the level of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in their local area to be high, similar to the 2021/22 figure of 7%. Two of the seven ASB strands considered showed a statistically significant decrease; the proportion viewing rubbish or litter lying around as a problem fell from 31% to 28%, while teenagers hanging around on streets fell from 15% to 12%.
  • Around one-in-twelve (8%) respondents expressed a high level of worry about violent crime with a similar proportion, 7%, very worried about becoming a victim of burglary. Both showed a statistically significant decrease from the previous year, from 10% and 8% respectively.  Of vehicle owners, 5% were very worried about becoming a victim of car crime.
  • At 76%, the majority of 2022/23 respondents felt fear of crime has a minimal effect on their quality of life, an increase from 73% in 2021/22.
  • Overall public confidence in the police and police accountability arrangements (based on a seven-strand composite measure) was 81% in 2022/23, on par with 82% in 2021/22. None of the seven indicators that comprise the composite measure showed a statistically significant change over the same period.
  • In terms of the local police, findings suggest that, in 2022/23, 54% rated their local police as doing an excellent or good job, on par with 55% in 2021/22. When asked about overall confidence in their local police, 70% felt that, when taking everything into account, they had confidence in the police in their area, similar to the previous year (72%).
  • With regards to community engagement, decreases were observed in the proportions agreeing that the police and other agencies seek people’s views about the anti-social behaviour (ASB) and crime issues that matter and that these issues are being dealt with, falling from 38% to 33% and 47% to 41% respectively.
  • When asked about the criminal justice system (CJS), the proportion of respondents who were very or fairly confident that the CJS as a whole in Northern Ireland is effective was 62% while the proportion considering it to be fair was 66%. Both proportions were similar to those observed the previous year, 64% and 66% respectively.
  • Around one-in-six (17%) considered organised crime to be very or fairly widespread in their local area, a statistically significant decrease from 21% in 2020/21. Just over a fifth (22%) believed the level of organised crime had increased in their area over the previous 12 months. When asked about the role members of the public, including themselves, can play in tackling organised crime, the most common response, given by 58% of respondents, was to report it to police or other law enforcement bodies.
  • In terms of paramilitary activity, there was a statistically significant decrease in the proportion of respondents who felt paramilitary activity was widespread in their area, falling from 15% in 2020/21 to 11% in 2022/23. 
  • Two-fifths (40%) felt paramilitary groups had either some or a lot of influence in their local area, 53% of whom described it as a 'negative' influence, while a further 26% felt the influence was 'more negative than positive‘.


Notes to editors: 

1.The Northern Ireland Safe Community Survey (NISCS) is a representative, continuous, personal interview survey of the experiences and perceptions of crime and crime-related issues of people aged 16 and over living in private households throughout Northern Ireland. Previously conducted in 1994/95, 1998, 2001 and 2003/04, the survey began operating on a continuous basis in January 2005. Traditionally conducted as a face-to-face survey, interviews have been conducted via telephone from 2020/21 due to the pandemic and the change in survey mode has resulted in a break in the time series. This bulletin focuses on findings from the 2022/23 survey and will be referred to as the Northern Ireland Safe Community Telephone Survey (NISCTS).

2.The main aims of NISCTS are to:

  • measure crime victimisation rates experienced by people living in private households regardless of whether or not these crimes were reported to, or recorded by, the police.
  • measure people’s perceptions of, and reactions to, crime (for example, the extent to which they are concerned about crime and the effect of crime on their quality of life).
  • measure public confidence in policing and the criminal justice system.

3.The bulletin refers to fieldwork undertaken during the financial year April 2022 to March 2023, which involved 3,413 people aged 16 years and over giving complete interviews. This represents an eligible response rate of 49%.

4.Official statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.  They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.  They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access. 

5.The bulletin will be available in PDF format at R & S Bulletin Findings from the 2022/23 Northern Ireland Safe Community Telephone Survey | Department of Justice (justice-ni.gov.uk)

or Analytical Services Group, Block B, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast BT4 3SG (Telephone: 028 9052 0185; Email: statistics.research@justice-ni.gov.uk).

6. Department of Justice media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office press.office@justice-ni.gov.uk

7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted out of hours on 028 9037 8110.

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