May 25, 2024

By Afrobarometer
Published January 30, 2024

Africans Cite Corruption, Brutality and Lack of Professionalism among Police FailingsAfricans report corruption, use of excessive force and criminal activity by their police departments. Fewer than half of those surveyed in 39 of the 54 countries express trust in the police or approve of their government’s performance in fighting crime.

The survey, by Afrobarometer, a pan-African research network, shows that negative perceptions of police professionalism and corruption go hand in hand with low public trust in the police, poor marks on government performance in reducing crime, and citizens’ sense of insecurity.

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Among respondents who sought police assistance during the previous year, 36% say they had to pay a bribe. Among those who encountered the police in other situations, 37% report having to pay a bribe to avoid problems, ranging from 1% in Cabo Verde to 70% in Liberia.

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Three in 10 citizens (29%) say their police often or always engage in criminal activities, in addition to 27% who say they sometimes doThree in 10 citizens (29%) say their police often or always engage in criminal activities, in addition to 27% who say they sometimes do.

On average, about four in 10 Africans say their police often or always use excessive force in managing protests (38%) and dealing with suspected criminals (42%).

Fewer than four in 10 citizens (37%) say their government is doing fairly well or very well at reducing crime, ranging from just 10% in Sudan to 77% in Benin.

Fewer than half (46%) of citizens say they trust the police somewhat or a lot.

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