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    • Systemic Solutions are needed instead of Attractive Arrests of Corrupt Police Officers

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    • Date: 01 September 2016
      More than half of Serbian citizens trust the police, while two-thirds believe that corruption is widespread in this institution, it was pointed out at the presentation of results of the public opinion survey "The Citizens’ Opinions of Police Force" organized by BCSP in the framework of the regional POINTPULSE network.

      Police are trusted by 58% of citizens in the Western Balkans region, but the number of those who think this institution cannot be relied upon is still considerably high, it was concluded at the discussion organized by Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) on 1 September 2016 at the Media Center in Belgrade.

      Somewhat more than half of the Serbian citizens, 54% of them which is an increase of 2% when compared to the previous year, said they trust the police, whereas 44% think the opposite. However, despite the increase in the level of trust, a high percentage still believes the corruption is spread within the police.

      “According to the research results, 72% of respondents believe that corruption is widespread in the police. Moreover, the results show that citizens think that the influence of politics on the police is great and that the way of entering the force is most frequently through friend or family connections” BCSP’s researcher Aurelija Djan pointed out.

      “It is necessary that police, prosecution, and judiciary continue with reforms more decidedly and restore the citizens’ trust that the corruption can be reduced”, underlines Djan.

      The citizens still do not perceive the police as their service, but rather as an instrument of politicians.

      “Police authorities should be concerned over the fact that 76% of citizens think that politics exerts influence over the operational work of the law enforcement agencies. It is necessary for the Ministry of Interior to face the urgent problem of high perception of corruption in the police. It is necessary that police, prosecution, and judiciary continue with reforms more decidedly and restore the citizens’ trust that the corruption can be reduced. Systemic solutions are needed, not attractive arrests,” Djan pointed out.

      In citizens’ views, traffic and border police are the most corrupt, whereas the special police units are perceived as least corrupt, followed closely by the administrative divisions of police.

      Legal researcher Sofija Mandić from BCSP stated that the research was conducted not only in Serbia but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro and Macedonia.

      “Citizens of Serbia trust their police the least (54%) followed by Albania (56%). In Kosovo, 58% trust the police and the same percentage applies to Macedonia. In Bosnia and Herzegovina police are trusted by 60% of respondents, whereas Montenegro boasts with the highest level of trust at 62%,” Mandic pointed out.

      “The highest perception of police corruption in regions is in Serbia”, highlights Mandić.

      The results have shown that the situation across the region is very similar when it comes to the attitudes towards male and female police officers and the citizens’ perceptions of them.

      “Policewoman is beautiful, charming, well mannered, cultured, whereas only one third thinks she is fit for the job. It is of great concern that the citizens, 11% of them, define policeman as corrupt,” Mandic concluded.

       

      The survey was conducted in April 2016 on the sample of 6,000 respondents in Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia within the regional poll conducted by the civil society network POINTPULSE, with the field work conducted by IPSOS Strategic Marketing.

       

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