Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor, with the involvement of APR Group NGO, conducted comparative research “The indices characterizing the activity of the RA law enforcement bodies (2015-2017, 2019, 2020)” and computed the index of arbitrariness of law enforcement bodies, i.e., to what degree the public trusts the Police, to what degree the RA citizen feels protected against arbitrariness of law enforcement bodies.
According to our research, the public had a negative attitude towards law enforcement bodies in 2016; this attitude shifted to a positive one in 2019; however, it went down in 2021. As compared to 2019, “The index of law enforcement arbitrariness” reduced in 2021.
Results of this research are evidenced by police arbitrariness, abuse of official authorities of law enforcement bodies, and illegal activities of police officers. An example is the incident that took place in Marts village of Lori Province in 2021, when villagers were subjected to torture, violence and beating in the police division; law enforcement bodies find obvious the fact of having been subjected to physical violence, but “cannot find” those to be held liable, claiming that the person to be accused is unknown. Furthermore, the NSS investigator did not even appoint a forensic psychological examination, even though the victims were subjected to physical violence and psychological pressure.
Analyzing results of 5-year monitoring, it becomes clear that the issue of law enforcement arbitrariness still remains in place. Cases of abuse of official authorities similar to the above-mentioned ones, illegal activities of the police (especially during assemblies) greatly affect public perception.
Attitude towards police activity and policemen is formed based on police conduct, yet police impunity has still not been overcome in the Republic of Armenia.