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Distrust, corruption & favouritism: Mauritians’ perceptions of police revealed

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Distrust, corruption & favouritism: Mauritians’ perceptions of police revealed
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In Mauritius, a majority of citizens express little or no trust in the police and believe that corruption is rife among police officers.

A new survey by Afrobarometer has revealed that almost half of respondents believe police officers engage in illegal activities.

More complain that police sometimes stop drivers without good reason and use excessive force in managing protests and dealing with criminals.

Only one in five citizens think the government is doing a good job of reducing crime.

The survey was conducted before the emergence of shocking videos of alleged police brutality and torture, causing an uproar in the Mauritian public.

Trust decreases as poverty increases, ranging from 19% among economically better-off citizens to just 7% among those experiencing moderate or high levels of lived poverty.

Mauritians scored their police poorly on their autonomy as a neutral body. More than six in 10 citizens (63%) said the police favour particular people, parties, or interests.

In its conclusion, Afrobarometer said when news reports and social media allege police abuses, the Mauritian police do not have a large reservoir of public trust and goodwill to draw on.

“Too many citizens express little or no trust, think police officers are corrupt, and see them as failing to operate professionally and evenhandedly.

“This represents a major challenge for the government, whose performance rating on reducing crime continues to be abysmal,” it said.

Key findings

  • Fewer than half of Mauritians say they trust the police “somewhat” (33%) or “a lot” (13%). This proportion has declined by 13 percentage points since 2014.
  • One-quarter (24%) of adults believe that “most” or “all” police are corrupt, while fully two-thirds (67%) say “some of them” are involved in graft.
  • Almost half (45%) of citizens say the police engage in criminal activities at least “sometimes,” including 15% who believe this happens “often” or “always.”
  • A majority of citizens say the police at least “sometimes” stop drivers without good reason (64%) and use excessive force in managing protests (58%) and in dealing with criminals (63%).
  • Only about four in 10 respondents (42%) say the police “often” or “always” operate in a professional manner and respect all citizens’ rights.
  • More than six in 10 (63%) say the police favour particular people, parties, or interests instead of operating in a neutral manner.
  • But 88% consider it likely that the police will take reports of gender-based violence seriously.
  • And more than six in 10 citizens (62%) say the government is justified in using the police and security forces to enforce public health mandates during a health emergency.
  • One in four citizens (24%) say they felt unsafe walking in their neighbourhood at least once during the previous year. About one in 10 (11%) report having feared crime in their home.
  • Only 9% of citizens say they requested police assistance during the previous year. However, more than half (58%) say they encountered the police in other situations, such as at checkpoints, during identity checks or traffic stops, or during an investigation.
  • Among citizens who asked for assistance from the police, three-fourths (76%) say it was easy to get the help they needed, but 3% say they had to pay a bribe.
  • Among those who encountered the police in other situations, 12% say they had to pay a bribe to avoid problems.
  • Only 21% of respondents say the government is doing a good job of reducing crime.

Original article at Afrobarometer.org

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The information and opinions expressed in our published works are those of authors/sources believed to be reliable. NewsMoris makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information expressed.