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There was little time for celebration at the police stations throughout Otago yesterday as a new and independent survey showed a high level of public satisfaction with the service provided by New Zealand Police.
The Citizens' Satisfaction Survey 2008, conducted by Gravitas Research and Strategy Ltd earlier this year, questioned 8300 people across the country by phone about their levels of trust and confidence in police.
In the Southern Police District, 71% of respondents who had had contact with police said they had a lot, or quite a lot, of trust and confidence in them.
Nationwide, 69% of the respondents had a lot or quite a lot of trust and confidence in police.
Relieving Southern District Commander Detective Superintendent Malcolm Burgess said the results were very pleasing, and they showed police in the southern district were doing a "great job".
But there was little time for celebration and there was always room for improvement, he said.
New Zealand Police Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls said the survey was part of Service First, an ongoing service improvement project being run by New Zealand Police, and would be repeated for the next two years.
"The survey is part of work we are doing to improve the way we do things and to ensure New Zealand Police is a good organisation to deal with. This initial survey gives us a benchmark to measure our performance by and an insight into the public's expectations of us."
Mr Nicholls said respondents had told those conducting the survey that some of the key things that influenced their levels of satisfaction were the positive attitude of police staff, that police showed interest and concern, and that they did everything they could for people.
"It is especially significant that often we have contact with people during stressful periods - some of them are being given infringements or are being dealt with as offenders.
"These are difficult situations in which to ensure someone has a positive experience, yet obviously, many people end up being satisfied with the encounter and feel that they were treated fairly."
Mr Nicholls said levels of satisfaction were consistent across all districts, which was important.
The information gleaned from the survey would be used to help shape the way police delivered services in the future.
The results would also form part of a wider monitoring of satisfaction with police, as recommended by the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct, he said.