Perceptions of Policing and Justice: Findings from the 2017/18 Northern Ireland Crime Survey’ published today

Date published: 16 May 2019

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published Research and Statistical Bulletin ‘Perceptions of Policing and Justice: Findings from the 2017/18 Northern Ireland Crime Survey’ (NICS). It is an Official Statistics publication.

The focus of this publication is on key attitudinal modules contained within the Northern Ireland Crime Survey relating to:

  • confidence in policing and community engagement; and
  • confidence in the criminal justice system.

Key Findings


  • NICS 2017/18 findings show that the level of public confidence in the police and police accountability arrangements (based on a seven-strand composite measure) remained unchanged (p<0.05) from 2016/17 (81% and 82% respectively). The confidence rating, however, has shown an overall increase from 73% observed in 2003/04 when the measure was introduced.
  • In terms of the local police, 51% of NICS 2017/18 respondents rated the police in their area as doing an excellent or good job.  While this proportion has shown an overall increase when compared with that observed a decade ago (41%, 2007/08), it is lower than the equivalent rate in England and Wales (62%, Crime Survey for England and Wales 2017/18).
  • When asked about overall confidence in the local police, results produced a similar picture, with 68% of Northern Ireland respondents (NICS 2017/18) expressing confidence compared with 78% in England and Wales (CSEW 2017/18).
  • With regards to community engagement by the police and partnership agencies, findings from NICS 2017/18 show the proportions of respondents agreeing that the police and other agencies both ‘seek people’s views about’ (38%) and ‘are dealing with’ (43%) the ASB and crime issues that matter in the local area remained unchanged (p<0.05) with those reported during 2016/17 (39% and 43% respectively).
  • NICS 2017/18 respondents were more likely to think the criminal justice system (CJS) as a whole is fair (60%) than effective (44%).  These proportions remain on a par with those measured through NICS 2016/17 (63% and 46% respectively) and compare with 69% and 53% in England and Wales (CSEW 2017/18).
  • As in previous years, NICS participants cited ‘tougher sentences’ as the most important thing the CJS could do to improve its public confidence rating (32%, NICS 2017/18).  Other popular responses included: ‘tackle ASB and minor crime’ (18%); ‘bring more offenders to justice’ and provide ‘a more visible policing presence’ (both 17%).

Notes to editors: 

This is the third publication to be drawn from NICS 2017/18, a representative, continuous personal interview survey of the experiences and perceptions of crime of adults living in private households throughout Northern Ireland.  Previously conducted in 1994/95, 1998, 2001 and 2003/04, the NICS began operating on a continuous basis in January 2005.  It generally mirrors the format of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

An alternative, but complementary, measure of crime to offences recorded by the police, the main aims of NICS 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;
  • monitor trends in the level of crime, independent of changes in reporting levels or police recording practices;
  • measure people’s perceptions of, and reactions to, crime (for example, the level and causes of crime, 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 wider criminal justice system; and
  • collect sensitive information, using self-completion modules, on people’s experiences regarding crime-related issues, such as domestic violence.
    The bulletin refers to fieldwork undertaken during the financial year 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, which involved 1,582 people aged 16 years and over giving complete interviews.  This represents an eligible response rate of 52%.
    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. 
    The bulletin will be available in PDF format only from either the DoJ website/publications  or Analytical Services Group, Block B, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast BT4 3SG (Telephone: 028 9052 0185; Email:
    Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DoJ Press Office on telephone number 028 9052 6444.



Share this page

Back to top