Survey: Citizens trust the police but also think it is corrupted

The trust in the police in Serbia is growing, as is the perception of its corruption. Also, the majority of the citizens think that the police’s work in Serbia is politicized. 

These are the results of a survey commissioned by the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCBP).  

Six out of ten citizens trust the police (61%), which positions this Serbian institution at the world average: between 60 and 90 per cent. At the same time, seven out of ten citizens believe that police officers are corrupt (69%), while three quarters are convinced that their interests are subordinated to those of politics (72%).

The high level of politicization and perception of corruption in the police obviously does not affect the population’s trust in this institution, which indicates that citizens are either accustomed to the general presence of corruption or that they do not view trust as something that should exclude the presence of corruption and the influence of politics on the operational work of the police.

A part of the population perceives the police as a service of the citizens, while twice as many survey participants believe that they operate in this capacity the least.

For the third year in a row, and without any fluctuation, one third of the respondents stated the view that the police operate as a service of the citizens (37%), while this year was marked by a slight increase in the percentage of those that believe that the police act the most to protect the interests of the Government and the political parties. Such a view was expressed by every fourth citizen of Serbia. Six out of ten respondents (60%) believe that the police operate as a service to the citizens the least, which represents an increase of six per cent compared to the year 2017.

Only three of the twelve offered institutions have recorded a perception of corruption that is below 50 per cent, while the health services, police, judiciary and media are at the top of the list when it comes to how corrupt they are perceived to be. In such an environment, corruption – which is clearly a negative phenomenon – becomes transformed into something that is considered normal, and the prevailing justification seems to be that “the system has forced me into corruption”.

Traditionally, and for the fourth consecutive year, traffic police officers are perceived as the most corrupt segment of the force. Three out of four citizens believe that members of the traffic police are corrupt. In the last four years, there has been a negative trend in the growth of perception of corruption in the traffic and criminal police, while corruption in the border police, administrative affairs and special units has experienced a positive tendency, i.e. reduction in perception.

Citizens still do not see concrete and tangible results of the fight against corruption in the police, but they are nevertheless slightly optimistic. Every other citizen of Serbia believes that the state is fighting corruption in the police, but that it is not doing it the right way, while a quarter of the population is convinced that the state is not doing anything at all to fight this form of corruption.

The research was conducted by IPSOS Strategic Marketing on a sample of 1,008 participants, over the age of 18, in August 2018.

(, 06.11.2018)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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