PRISHTINA – The Kosovo Police enjoys a high degree of trust by more than half of the Kosovo citizens by marking a slight increase in trust compared to 2015. However, almost 90 percent of the citizens perceive that politicians exercise influence on the operational work of the Kosovo Police.
Trust of the Kosovo citizens towards the Kosovo Police (KP) show that in spite of the challenges and the overuse of force in some cases during the protests, the perceptions of citizens towards the Police are solid. The 2016 survey results show that about 59 percent of the respondents share positive perceptions towards the KP, in comparison to 56 percent in 2015. This was one of the main conclusions at the public event organized by Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) on 1 September 2016 in Prishtina on the occasion of launching the report on public opinion survey for the Kosovo Police.
The effectiveness work in the fight against violent extremism is the key factor behind the positive attitude towards the KP, and the leading role of this institution in this regard has been applauded by the citizens. Furthermore, the police has been considered as the key institution for maintaining order and public safety in Kosovo, especially during the protests in Prishtina.
However, around 39 percent of the respondents share a rather negative perception towards the Kosovo Police. “The results show that the main argument behind this perception is the lack of tangible results and success stories in the fight against corruption, organised crime and trafficking. In some cases, the respondents had personal complaints related to police interventions in cases of emergencies. Others, however, argue that scandals within the KP, such as theft in the KP evidence room, represented key factors that shaped their opinion towards police”, stated KCSS Researcher, Donika Emini.
Despite the fact of being listed by more than half of the respondents as an institution that serves the citizens of Kosovo, they also seem to think that the KP is highly influenced by politics. In addition, the research shows that respondents believe that the politicians in Kosovo exercise extended influence over the Police. “This is a major concern knowing that almost 90 percent of the respondents believe that politicians exercise influence over the operational work of the Kosovo Police to a greater or lesser extent”, said the KCSS researcher Plator Avdiu.
When it comes to perceptions of citizens regarding the corruption within the Kosovo Police, the survey shows that the Police is considered corrupt by 42 percent of respondents. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that in the case of the Police the public referred only to small cases of bribery without mentioning procurement activities or larger scale potentiality for corruption. In this regard, the traffic police is perceived as the most corrupt units within the Police by 50 percent of citizens.
The second most corrupt unit within the Police, according to 48 percent of the respondents, are the Minister’s closest associates. This perception has probably been caused by the connection that the respondents have made between corruption and the Ministry, mainly as a result of the overall perception of high corruption within the Government. While, the special police force are considered the least corrupt unit within the Police.
In terms of perception towards policemen and policewoman, the Kosovo citizens seem to share positive opinions towards police officers and this perception is based on the frequent contacts of the citizens with the Kosovo Police officers. A police officer in Kosovo is most commonly perceived as a positive and nice person by 37 percent of the respondents. Also, the perceptions towards female police officers is rather positive and they are seen from a softer perspective by the respondents.
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. More information regarding the research methodology can be found here, whereas the questionnaire is available here.