Police release results of public perceptions about crime and Police

  • Survey shows trust and confidence in Police remains high at 69%
  • Public trust in Police remains high for overall service especially emergency responses
  • 83% of public believe Police treat people professionally

Police have today released results from their public perceptions survey known as the Police Module (PM) which is conducted as part of the Ministry of Justice’s New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey (NZCVS), also published today.

The survey showed that overall trust and confidence in Police remains very high, but lower than in previous years.

The NZCVS covers the period between November 2021 and November 2022.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said: “We welcome the publishing of the NZCVS report, and are publishing the results of our own Police Module, and other Police perception polling alongside it.

“The NZCVS is one of the most reliable sources of information Police have about crime levels because Police normally only have data about those crimes that were actually reported to us.

“The NZCVS report finds that in 2022 the public experienced spikes in a few areas of crime – in particular online fraud, but overall levels of crime in the community remained relatively stable during this period. It is important to note commercial crimes such as Ram Raids, where we are also seeing changes, are not covered by this report.

“The proportion of the population reporting crime to Police through our new channels like 105 online continues to grow, although a small proportion of people who are most heavily victimised are now reporting fewer of their repeat victimisations.”

Public feelings of safety from November 2021 until November 2022 remained largely unchanged.

The Police Module of the NZCVS (PM) has found over two thirds of the public (69%) have trust and confidence in Police, and even higher numbers (83%) believe that Police are professional in doing their work.

Commissioner Coster added, “We know that without broad public support our job of keeping communities safe is much harder.”

The NZCVS Police Module shows that the public continue to think Police remain focussed on the most harmful crimes (72%) and deal effectively with serious crimes (76%), are responsive to the needs of their communities (66%) and have a good presence in their community (62%), are easy to contact via 105 (72%) and provide good service (71%), will be there when they need us in a significant emergency (80%), and most of all that we will treat them professionally when we are there (83%). “

“That is a tribute to how our staff go about their roles every day, working closely with communities to keep them safe,” Commissioner Coster said.

Trust and confidence in Police remains high at 69%.

Whilst this is an excellent result, trust has declined since last year and in particular amongst certain demographic groups. Those aged 60-64 and 40-49, men, straight people, and Europeans have seen larger declines, while it has remained stable in most other communities, including Māori. It has also declined more amongst groups of people who were not victims of crime, than amongst those who were.

Commissioner Coster said: “We think this decline in public trust and confidence is the result of three main trends;

  • the tail end of the country’s COVID response which has been controversial with some communities,
  • the drop in public confidence in government institutions in general and policing in particular, both overseas and here in New Zealand. We haven’t had the same breaches of public trust here – but many people are influenced by these stories from overseas
  • and changes in some highly visible crime trends here in New Zealand such as ram raids and inter-gang violence.

“Seen alongside the fairly stable crime rates reported by NZCVS, these differences indicate that public perceptions have been driving this decline rather than the reality of people’s direct experience of Police.

“Preventing crime and harm in our communities and responding to emergencies will always be our priority.

“These surveys tell us that we also need to make sure we continue to demonstrate to the public the results of our efforts and our successes in identifying and addressing emerging crime trends such as gang violence and ram raids.”

Top level national findings:

  • Between November 2021 and November 2022 NZCVS found that:

– Online fraud was the major change in crime trend experienced by individuals – and most people report those offences to banks rather than Police.

– The prevalence of adults experiencing crime is consistent with previous cycles

– Highly victimised individuals experienced more crime but reported a lower proportion of offences.

– There were no significant changes in public feelings of safety for this period.

  • The Police Module (PM) shows that most New Zealanders (83%) agree that Police are professional when they are conducting their duties – this is something we are proud of and continue to strive for
  • Trust and confidence in Police remains high at 69%.

/NZ Police Public Release. View in full here.