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Key findings
  • Fewer than half of Mauritians say they trust the police “somewhat” (33%) or “a lot” (13%). This proportion has declined by 13 percentage points since 2014.
  • One-quarter (24%) of adults believe that “most” or “all” police are corrupt, while fully two-thirds (67%) say “some of them” are involved in graft.
  • Almost half (45%) of citizens say the police engage in criminal activities at least “sometimes,” including 15% who believe this happens “often” or “always.”

Shocking videos of alleged police brutality and torture have caused an uproar in the Mauritian public in recent days, most notably among lawyers, a number of religious bodies, and civil society organisations (Defimedia.info, 2022).

This is not the first time such videos are being seen on social media. In 2020, a robbery suspect accused the police of subjecting him to different types of torture, including the use of tasers on several parts of his body. In 2018, a man accused of theft reported that the police chained, handcuffed, and tortured him using tasers; he died in 2020 (L’Express.mu, 2022). These scenes continued during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, when videos circulating on social media appeared to show police officers torturing two men arrested for damaging a police car (Hansrod, 2020).

Amid these concerns, how do Mauritians see the police? This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 (2021/2022) questionnaire to explore Africans’ experiences and assessments of police professionalism.

In Mauritius, a majority of citizens express little or no trust in the police and believe that corruption is rife among police officers. Almost half say some police engage in illegal activities, and more complain that police sometimes stop drivers without good reason and use excessive force in managing protests and dealing with criminals. Only one in five citizens think the government is doing a good job of reducing crime.

L. Amédée Darga

L. Amédée Darga is the Afrobarometer national investigator in Mauritius.

Nazrana Hurroo

Nazrana Hurroo is a Junior Researcher at StraConsult