Today, the Ministry of Justice (MJ) published research and statistics bulletins:
“Perceptions of Paramilitarism in Northern Ireland: Results of the Northern Ireland Life & Times 2017-2020 Survey.”
“Perceptions of Paramilitarism in Northern Ireland: Results of the Young Life & Times 2017-2020 Survey.”
These publications present key findings and compare each year the responses to the opinions of a representative sample of both adults and young people in Northern Ireland on their perceptions and attitudes towards paramilitary influence and activities in Northern Ireland. The information is presented in relation to complete samples and disaggregated by demographics, including age, gender, religion, education, and political identity. The main findings of these reports are presented below.
Research and Statistics Bulletin: An Overview of Paramilitarism in Northern Ireland
Area: Over the years, it has been found that the largest proportion of adults live in areas of “mixed” religions throughout Northern Ireland (41.5%, 45.7%, 42.6%, 45.4%), and more than half have described their territory neither loyal nor republican. The vast majority of adults (96.4%, 95.9%, 93.3%, 95.8%) felt very or fairly safe living in their locality. A slightly smaller proportion of young people felt very or fairly safe living in their locality (91.8%, 92.2%, 89.9%, 87.9%).
Sense of community: More than three-fifths of adults (65.7%, 70.5%, 63.7%, 63.5%) fully agreed or agreed that there was a strong sense of community in their area. However, about three quarters do not feel any influence on local decisions made about their locality (73.5%, 80.3%, 74.7%, 75.0%). About half of the young people strongly agreed or agreed that there was a strong sense of community in their area (53.9%, 48.2%, 54.2%, 56.8%), but about nine out of ten did not feel that they have some influence on local decisions. (88.9%, 88.3%, 90.5%, 88.1%).
Crime and Security: Overall, the number of adults who believed that people in their area confidently reported crimes and anti-social behavior in the PSNI between 2017 (56.7%) and 2020 (63.7%) increased. From 2017 to 2019, almost three-fifths (56.9%, 59.6%, 59.4%) strongly agreed or agreed that PSNI keeps its territory safe, in 2020 it dropped to 45.1%. Fewer and fewer young people felt that people in their area were confident in reporting crime and misconduct in the PSNI (54.8%, 47.8%, 48.2%, 42.9%). The number of young people who also feel that PSNI retains its locality is decreasing (55.2%, 50.2%, 50.0%, 37.9%).
Crime rate: About two-thirds of adults strongly agreed or agreed that their area was low in crime, drugs and anti-social behavior (64.2%, 61.8%, 62.0%, 67.4%). A smaller part of the youth (62.9%, 58.4%, 54.6%, 58.7%) agreed or completely agreed with this.
- The system of law and justice: More than three-quarters of adult respondents agreed or fully agreed that people in their area generally obey the law (82.9%, 82.7%, 78.0%, 85.9%). However, a smaller proportion of respondents believed that they were protected by law and justice (62.9%, 65.0%, 62.6%, 62.7%). In general, the share of young people who believe that residents of their area generally comply with the law decreased (72.6%, 70.4%, 67.2%, 65.9%). From 2017 to 2020, the number of young people felt that their protection was law and justice, less (65.6%) (50.1%).
Military influence: There was a general trend towards an increase in the number of adults who felt that paramilitary groups were contributing to crime, drug trafficking and anti-social behavior in their territory (22.0%, 18.2%, 25.3%, 26.5%). However, fewer and fewer strongly agreed or agreed that paramilitary groups help keep their territory safe (5.4%, 4.8%, 6.4%, 2.9%). The number of hesitant young people feel that paramilitary groups contribute to crime, drug trafficking and anti-social behavior in their territory (18.4%, 24.3%, 24.4%, 17.0%). The relatively stable share of young people strongly agreed or agreed that paramilitary groups help keep their territory safe (7.3%, 6.1%, 5.8%, 6.2%).
Youth and crime: Within three of the four years, about two-thirds of adults disagree or strongly disagree with the fact that there is a lot of crime, drugs and anti-social behavior in their area (65.1%, 66.4%, 60.4%, 66.0%). ). Since 2018, about half of young people (57.3%, 50.1%, 47.7%, 53.9%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement.