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The index of arbitrariness increases along with the increase in crimes

May 10, 2022

News | State Institutions | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor presents the results of the survey “Indices characterizing the activity of the RA law enforcement bodies in 2015-2017, 2019, 2021” (in Armenian) conducted in 2021 with the involvement of APR Group NGO in order to compute the index of arbitrariness of the RA law enforcement bodies (Police, courts, Prosecutor’s Office) and the index of trust in Police.

 

The index of law enforcement arbitrariness is the generalized index of society’s positions, which reflects the sense of public insecurity against arbitrary, i.e., unlawful actions of the police (Prosecutor’s Office and judicial authorities). To compute the index, questions were used to disclose public assessment of the activity of law enforcement bodies. The more illegalities the Police commit, the higher the index of police arbitrariness is.

 

The index of trust in police is the generalized index of the position of the society, which reflects the attitudes towards and trust in police, as well as the degree of citizens’ will to cooperate with the Police.  

 

Comparing the results of the surveys conducted in 2019 and 2021 with statistical data of crimes committed in the same years, we shall find out whether there is a correlation between the number of crimes and the index of arbitrariness of the police and the index of trust in police. 

 

The data of the RA Statistical Committee show that overall there were 6089 crimes recorded in Armenia in 2019, 6431 crimes were recorded in 2021, which, according to the number of the population, makes up 0,20% in 2019 and 0,22% in 2021 (the number of crimes/ the number of population). The study shows that according to the number of the population, the percentage of crimes is above average (0,20%) in Yerevan (0,27%), Lori and Kotayk regions (0,22% and 0,19%), and lower than average in Ararat (0,12%) and Vayots Dzor (0,12%) regions. In 2021, the percentage of crimes - according to the number of population -is above average (0,20%) in Yerevan (0,30%), Lori region (0,21%), Kotayk region (0,21%) and Tavush region (0,12%); it is below average in Shirak region (0,13%) and Syunik region (0,13%).

 

In both years, the highest percentage of crimes was in Yerevan, Lori, Kotayk, Tavush. In the Ararat region crime rates increased in 2021 (as compared to 2019) from 0,12% up to 0,18%. The reverse situation can be seen in Shirak: in 2021, crime rates decreased from 0,18% to 0,13%.

 

HCA Vanadzor tried to combine the indices of police arbitrariness and trust with crime rates and find patterns.

 

Observing indices of police arbitrariness and percentage of crimes in all regions of Armenia (according to the number of population), it becomes clear that in 2019, the police arbitrariness index is the lowest  (29) and the the number of crimes - according to the number of population - is the highest (0,27%) in Yerevan.

 

The indices of police arbitrariness are quite low in Lori and Kotayk regions (35 and 32 respectively), while crimes - according to the number of population - make up a high percentage (0,22% and 0,19%). 

 

In 2021, the index of police arbitrariness was again the lowest  (15), and the percentage of crimes was the highest (0,30%) in Yerevan. The highest indices of police arbitrariness are recorded in Aragatsotn and Gegharkunik regions (42 and 41 respectively). In the above-mentioned regions, crimes are lower than in other regions as compared to the number of population (0,14% in both regions).   

 

 

Comparing the results of 2021 to the ones of 2019, we can see that there is an increase in police trust index, decrease in arbitrariness index and increase in the number of crimes in all regions.

 

The increase in the number of crimes affects public perceptions of Police illegalities, which, in its turn, negatively affects the public's feeling of security. This can also be related to police illegalities while disclosing crimes. And the lower the percentage of crimes, the higher the will to cooperate with the police (the index of trust).

 

Thus, we can state that there is a certain correlation and pattern between indices of police arbitrariness and trust in police and the number of crimes committed. The more crimes are committed, the more arbitrariness is manifested by the police while fulfilling their obligations through unlawful methods in an attempt to disclose the crimes.

 

The index of trust in police (citizens’ will to cooperate with the police) should be high even when there is a high rate of crimes. In these terms, the Police has much to do in order to act exclusively within the limits of legality to maintain public trust in them even in case of frequent relations with citizens.

 

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