EMBARG"D UNTIL 9.30 AM ON WEDNESDAY 29 MARCH 2006
PEOPLE in Jersey feel safe in their local neighbourhoods but are concerned about how safe the town centre is at night, and nearly 80 per cent of people think the Police are doing a good job of policing the Island, according to an independent report on the findings of the 2005 Jersey Annual Social Survey (JASS).
States of Jersey Police commissioned questions in the survey to help
identify public concerns and priorities
provide an indication of public opinion concerning Police performance
understand what drives public perceptions of Police performance
This information is then used to inform annual Policing Plans where policing activity and resource allocation is determined. States of Jersey Police are pleased to note that there is a close connection between the key operational priorities already identified in the 2006 Policing Plan and the key neighbourhood and island-wide issues identified by the public in the survey.
Statistics gathered by JASS found that nine out of ten Islanders consider their own neighbourhood to be either fairly safe or very safe. In every parish except St Helier, at least 80 per cent of people said they regarded their neighbourhood as fairly safe or very safe. These findings, when compared with results from previous surveys in 2003 and 2004, show that perceptions of neighbourhood safety in Jersey remain consistently high.
Respondents to the survey were asked to identify what they thought were the most important problems for the Police to deal with in their neighbourhood. Previous consultation has always highlighted speeding motorists as the key neighbourhood issue and JASS 2005 identified it as the second biggest worry (52% of people) at neighbourhood level. The biggest issue, however, was anti-social behaviour by youths (identified by 59% of people), most noticeably amongst residents of St Helier and St Brelade. The 2006 Policing Plan prioritises neighbourhood safety and aims to "provide positive policing intervention in neighbourhoods where crime and anti-social behaviour impact on quality of life. This means that weekly tasking meetings identify current hotspot areas where incidents are occurring and ensure that Police patrols frequent these locations. Problem-solving initiatives are also developed by the Police in co-operation with other agencies to see if underlying causes of ongoing problems at identified locations can be addressed.
Policing the Town Centre:
The report found that around 70 per cent of Islanders find St Helier ˜a bit' unsafe or ˜very unsafe' after dark. It is interesting to note that personal experience was cited by 66% of people who think town is safe after dark, whilst 75% of people who consider it to be unsafe cited Jersey's media as a major influence.
This is also reinforced by the fact that people aged between 16 and 34, who are the most regular customers of St Helier's night economy, have a higher opinion of the job done by the Police in tackling street violence and disorder than older age groups. Nevertheless, States of Jersey Police recognize that more than 40% of the public identify street violence and disorder as a key issue requiring Police action (making it the third highest public priority) and so hope to raise awareness of the positive action already being taken “
at a time when overall levels of street violence and disorder are remaining fairly stable, enforcement activity has been increasing - there were 23% more arrests for violence, drunkenness and disorder in 2005 than the average for the previous three years. This is due to more officers being deployed in the right place at the right time and taking positive action to tackle offending behaviour.
The Police are actively seeking the introduction of new public order legislation to replace the outdated and inadequate powers which seriously hinder their ability to police disorderly behaviour effectively.
The Force has prioritised street violence and disorder as part of the 2006 Policing Plan. In practical terms, this means that more officers than ever before are on the beat to police St Helier's night life and the Police are actively seeking improvements to licensing hours and late night transport to help achieve lasting improvement.
Island Issues and Police Performance
In common with previous surveys, drug dealing was perceived as the biggest problem requiring Police action for Jersey as a whole (71% of responses), although a lot less people considered drug dealing to be a problem in their neighbourhood (24%). Over 8 out of 10 (83%) of people thought that States of Jersey Police were doing a good or very good job of catching people who sell illegal drugs. Again, drugs features as a key operational priority in the current Policing Plan.
Over 8 out of 10 (83%) of people thought that States of Jersey Police were doing a good or very good job of promoting and enforcing road safety. Similar numbers also agreed that the Police were doing a good or a very good job of catching people who commit violent crimes. Nearly 40 per cent of the respondents were unable to say whether the Police were doing a good job of catching burglars. In 2005, the local detection rate for burglary offences was 30% compared to 13% in England and Wales and the number of domestic burglaries per 1,000 households was 6.72 compared to 15.6 in England and Wales.
Respondents were asked about the relationship between the Police and the community. Nearly eight out of ten people agreed or strongly agreed that relations between the Police and the public were good. A similar number expressed the opinion that they would receive a good service from the Police if they needed assistance. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of people agreed with the statement that Jersey Police were in touch with the needs of the community, while over a third of people disagreed.
79% of the general public thought that the Police did a ˜good job' or very good job' of policing Jersey. This shown no significant difference from the 77% of people who received a service from the Police after becoming a victim of crime in 2005 who thought the Police did a good overall job of policing Jersey. UK research shows that there is normally a significant fall in perceptions of overall Police performance amongst victims of crime.
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