Youth lose faith in police – survey

Nearly three quarters of young South Africans have lost confidence in the country’s police force, according to a survey company.

“Young people feel police are not doing their jobs properly, and they see police performance as getting worse not better,” said Pondering Panda’s spokesperson Shirley Wakefield in a statement today.

She said that 71% of the 3 320 respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 believed that police were getting worse at their jobs.

Compared to the 48% of respondents who in June 2012 had felt police standards were falling, this showed that in March nearly a quarter more of young South Africans joined the ranks of the dissatisfied.

The survey was conducted this month via cellphone interviews with a demographically representative sample.

In the survey, 71% of young South Africans also rated police as either doing their job “not very” or “not at all” well.

The number of young South Africans who thought police were improving was halved from 26% in June last year to 13% this March.

Exactly three quarters of those surveyed thought police corruption was increasing.

Wakefield said that one possible consequence of these perceptions was a rise in vigilante justice, where communities meted out punishment themselves to suspected criminals.

“If government wants to curb vigilantism and restore the faith of young people in the police, it needs to improve police discipline and training, and demonstrate that communities can safely turn to the police for help when faced with crime.”

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