Slovakia leads among EU member states in mistrust in police

The police opine that this is the result of the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová.

The police officer in Veľká Mača at the site of Kuciak and Kušnírová's murder.The police officer in Veľká Mača at the site of Kuciak and Kušnírová's murder. (Source: TASR)

The pollster of the European Union, Eurobarmeter, shows that Slovakia leads among the EU member states in mistrust towards the national police: in this country, it amounts to 56 percent, while in the best country – Denmark – it's a mere 4 percent, the Denník N daily wrote on July 10.

Police: mistrust partly influenced by Kuciak’s murder

The level of mistrust in the Slovak police has been influenced by emotions that flooded society following the murders of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, the Police Corps Presidium told the TASR newswire. This came in response to the results of the survey.

“In our opinion, the emotions after the murders of the journalist and his fiancée influenced the results of the survey,” the police press department reacted. “Following the stifling atmosphere, major changes in posts within the Police Corps and the Interior Ministry took place, while the Police Corps’ personnel policy is still open, and further changes are expected.”

The mood in the country has calmed down in the meantime, according to the police. “We’re working on boosting the credibility of the police to higher figures. At the same time, it’s important to stress that despite the Eurobarometer results, Slovakia is viewed as a safe country, which can be demonstrated by increased tourism,” the police informed TASR, adding that positive statistics concerning the number of successfully investigated crimes, such as murders and property-related issues, show that the Slovak police are working correctly.

Watchdog sees space for improvement

The non-governmental organisation Transparency International Slovakia also commented on the published results of the survey. The NGO stated that the action needed to build trust in the police is clear – to investigate serious scandals, including politically-sensitive ones, along with selecting a trustworthy police chief in the autumn.

The survey, which was carried out within the 28 EU-member states and five candidate countries in March 2018, showed that more than half of the Slovak public has no trust in the police, putting Slovakia at the tail end of the EU ranking. Only 38 percent of them expressed confidence in the institution. The EU average stood at 73-percent trust. According to the Eurobarometer survey, the most trustworthy police are found in Denmark, as 93 percent of Danes expressed confidence in them, whereas only 5 percent of the country’s population had a negative opinion.

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