Police, govt officials perceived most to be on the take

BANGKOK • Police across the region apparently are the most corrupt, judging by the results of a survey by the Berlin-based anti-graft watchdog, Transparency International (TI).

Nearly two in five respondents in the survey said the police were mostly or entirely corrupt (39 per cent).

Thais and Pakistanis were the most likely to say their policemen were on the take. Many people in the region also perceived political decision-makers at both the national and local levels to be highly corrupt, according to the report, titled People And Corruption: Asia-Pacific.

The report said "just under a third of people in the region who had come into contact with a police officer in the last 12 months had paid a bribe, which was the highest of any service we asked about".

"People in Thailand and Pakistan were particularly likely to think that the police were highly corrupt, with over three quarters saying most or all police officers in their country were corrupt (78 per cent and 76 per cent)."

In Australia and Japan, the police were seen as far cleaner, with fewer than one in 10 saying they were highly corrupt - 5 per cent and 8 per cent respectively, the report said.

VIEWS OF THAIS, PAKISTANIS

People in Thailand and Pakistan were particularly likely to think that the police were highly corrupt, with over three quarters saying most or all police officers in their country were corrupt.

PEOPLE AND CORRUPTION: ASIA-PACIFIC REPORT

Many people in the Asia-Pacific region also perceived political decision-makers at both the national and local levels to be highly corrupt, the TI survey found.

Over a third said their legislative representatives, such as Members of Parliament or senators, government officials and local government councillors were highly corrupt, ranging from 35 to 37 per cent.

In contrast, religious leaders were seen as far cleaner, with fewer than one in five saying they were highly corrupt.

The report calls on the police to "lead by example and urgently address corruption within their ranks and act to gain public confidence because of their key role in fighting corruption".

When asked how they could fight corruption, "the top responses were to speak out by reporting it, and to stand up by refusing to pay bribes".

On the other hand, more than one in five felt completely powerless to help combat corruption, saying that there was nothing they could do, TI said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'Police, govt officials perceived most to be on the take'. Print Edition | Subscribe