The report provides answers to the following group of questions: trust in 12 anti-corruption institutions, the perception of the police and corruption, citizens’ opinion on the fight against corruption and the work of civil society.
In 2017, the police were the most trusted institution in Kosovo. The trends have shown that the public trust in the Kosovo Police in 2017 has increased by 10 percent in comparison to the levels noted in 2015 and 2016, making it the institution the respondents experienced in the most positive light. It is worth mentioning that the survey was conducted soon after the early parliamentary elections in Kosovo, which could have impacted the results as regards the police to a certain extent.
Positive attitudes of the respondents towards the police have been demonstrated with respect to the perception of police officers, both male and female. The public perceives police officers mainly as kind, cultured, decent and trustful people who work in compliance with the country’s laws and regulations.
However, the respondents have shared quite different views regarding the selection of candidates and the employment process within the police. Although the majority believes that an open and public competition precedes employment, they also see political connections, pulling strings and bribery as issues that seemingly still present major challenges to a fair and merit-based recruitment process.
Despite the results indicating that the majority of respondents believe that the Kosovo Police serves the citizens the most, there is still serious concern that the police also serves the interests of the Government and the political parties in Kosovo. Moreover, the risk of political influence on the police is believed to be quite high, given that a vast majority of the respondents feels that the Kosovo Police is politically influenced indeed, with particular emphasis on the operational work of the institution.
According to the respondents’ perceptions, corruption in the Kosovo institutions is widely spread. Although the level of corruption in the Kosovo Police in 2017 is perceived as lower in comparison with earlier years, this, however, does not imply that the current state is satisfactory. In addition, relevant police units such as the traffic police, the border police and the closest associates of the Minister of Internal Affairs are viewed as corrupt by almost 50 percent of the citizens.
As the public in Kosovo expressed concerns regarding the corruption of relevant police units, respondents have shared their ideas on the prevention of police corruption. More precisely, the research showed that strict punishment of offenders and stricter sanctions for police managers involved in corruption might be necessary to fight police corruption in Kosovo.
As trends from 2015 to 2017 show, respondents have listed the Government first when asked about the bodies that should fight corruption within the Kosovo Police. The Government was followed by internal control bodies of the police and the Anti-Corruption Agency. It is surprising that only a small group of those surveyed (less than 5 percent) perceived the Prosecutor’s Office as relevant in fighting police corruption. This is mainly attributed to the low level of public trust in the prosecution and judiciary in general. Non-governmental organizations are also not viewed as a significant contributor in this regard.
Since serious concerns have been expressed by the respondents who thought that the police is placed at risk by political influence over its operational work, it follows that the independence of the Kosovo Police should be ensured and freed from any influence. In this regard, provisions of the Law on Police should be fully implemented, and the operative police work should not be subject to any influence at all.
Internal policies of the Kosovo Police should be strengthened to guarantee that the recruitment of candidates for employment in the police is conducted solely based on merit. The Police Inspectorate of Kosovo should regularly inspect and oversee the recruitment cycles in the Police to eliminate negative phenomena (such as political connections, pulling of strings, or bribery) in hiring new personnel.
Police corruption in Kosovo is still a major concern. Therefore, internal control mechanisms of the Kosovo Police have to further enhance the activities to prevent and combat corruption within the institution itself. According to the responses provided by respondents in this survey, the police should apply strict sanctions when its personnel is implied in the corruption cases, with the aim to reduce and fight police corruption.