AFGHANISTAN: Police Survey 2011

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
UNi Feed
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

Despite challenges, Afghans are increasingly confident about police in their area because of improved presence of officers, according to an independent survey launched today by the Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Overall, 79 percent of Afghans hold a favourable opinion of the police with peaks at 91 percent in urban areas such as Central Kabul, according to the Police Perception Survey – 2010.

The increased confidence correlates to increased presence of the force. Eight out of 10 Afghans polled said police have “strong” presence in their area.

At the launch of the Survey the Assistant Commanding General NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, Kelly Thomas, noted the importance of the increase in the police force's salaries.

Kelly Thomas, Assistant Commanding General NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan:
“With the contribution of many nations and the support of UNDP and management of the Law and Order Trust Fund, police salaries have increased significantly. The basic patrolman two years ago earned 100 dollars a month. Today, it is 165 dollars a month. Today the police pay is on par with their peers in the Afghan Army. They also give their lives at three times the rate of the Afghan Army.”

According to the Survey, in regions where police presence has been replaced by military operations, particularly in the southern areas such as Helmand, Afghans' confidence has fallen to 48 percent - down 19 points from a year ago.

The Head of Security Committee of the Afghan Parliament, Shukria Barakzai, pointed out the difficulties of combating the drug trade, given the demand in developed countries.

Shukria Barakzai, Head of Security Committee of Parliament:
“Always they are complaining, but they are not arresting. Always they are trying to, let's say, the poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, but what about the poppy traffic in Europe, in the London streets? If the Metropolitan was, anytime, would be able to arrest few drug dealers in London. They are extremely professional police, but when it comes to that challenge they are also weak enough to do it.”

According to the Survey, 73 percent of the Afghans polled said they have respect for the police and 71 percent expressed confidence in its abilities.

The Senior Deputy Country Director of UNDP, Jan-Jiles van der Hoeven, discussed the details of the Survey.

Jan-Jiles van der Hoeven, Senior Deputy Country Director UNDP:
“Overwhelmingly Afghan population, both males and females are happy with the performance of their police. Some 75 percent of Afghans are of a sample size of over 7 thousand, is approving of the performance of the Afghan National Police.”

Van der Hoeven highlighted the increase acceptance of women in the force.

Jan-Jiles van der Hoeven, Senior Deputy Country Director UNDP:
“Another very important result, and very important for Afghanistan, is the fact that the acceptance among Afghans for the role of female police. An active role of female police is increasingly rapidly. It is now over 50 percent of the people interviewed is in favour of a role of women in the police force.”

Despite successes, only a minority of those surveyed see the police as “very” capable of dealing with various types of crimes, and while eight in 10 Afghans say the police in their area understand the law, just 30 percent said the police understood it “very” well.

The survey also showed that most Afghans were reluctant to engage with the Afghan National Police (ANP). More than a quarter saw ANP members using drugs or narcotics, as well as making unnecessary police stops, excessive physical force and other abuses without recourse. Some 60 percent of the Afghans polled saw significant levels of corruption within the ANP.