Namibians see police falling short of professional conduct and respect for citizens’ rights

Afrobarometer Dispatch No. 635 

Approval of government performance on crime declines as feelings of insecurity rise.This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 (2021/2023) questionnaire to explore Africans’ experiences and assessments of police professionalism.

Findings in Namibia show that feelings of insecurity and fear have risen sharply in recent years, and a majority of citizens say the government needs to do a better job of reducing crime. Among Namibians who interacted with the police during the previous year, a majority say it was easy to get assistance, though about one in five report having to pay a bribe to get help or avoid problems.

About one-third of citizens see most or all police officers as corrupt, a somewhat less negative rating than given the offices of the prime minister and the president, and almost two-thirds say they trust the police.

But a majority of Namibians believe the police at least sometimes engage in illegal activities, fail to respect citizens’ rights, stop drivers without good reason, and use excessive force in managing public demonstrations and dealing with criminal suspects.