Special Report

The Countries Where People Have No Trust in the Police

Manuel Mendarte / Presidencia de la República Mexicana

Ask yourself, do you feel safe walking alone at night? How confident are you in your local police department?

The answers to these and other questions have been condensed in the “Global Law and Order 2022” report from U.S. polling company Gallup in the form of the Law and Order Index score. The index scores are out of 100, with higher scores indicating greater sense of safety and trust in police. Based on the survey results, seven out of 10 people in 122 countries had confidence in their local police in 2021, a share that has remained mostly unchanged since 2020.
 
To determine the 50 countries with the most and least trust in police, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Gallup’s survey and listed here the 25 countries with the most trust in police and the 25 countries with the least trust. We added related data on annual homicide rates; incarceration rates (from the World Prison Brief, a division of the University of London); and government classifications (from the Varieties of Democracy project of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden). 

In the 25 countries whose people have the most trust in law enforcement, the Gallup Law and Order Index score ranges from 87 out of 100 in five countries, including Canada and South Korea, to 96 in Singapore. The average score for these countries is 90. That average drops to a Law and Order Index score of 60 in the 25 countries whose people have the lowest level of confidence in their local police. The world average score is 83 out of 100. (Also see, countries where police have the most firepower.)

The countries with the most and least trust in law enforcement have significantly different rates of incarceration and homicides, suggesting that there may not be a strong correlation between trust in police and per capita rates of murder and imprisonment. Though it seems that people living in liberal democracies are more likely to have confidence in local law enforcement, it is not always the case that people living under authoritarianism lack confidence in local police.

Take Taiwan and Saudi Arabia as an example. Both the Middle Eastern autocratic absolute monarchy and the semi-autonomous Asian liberal democracy claimed by the People’s Republic of China, share the same high Law and Order Index score of 89 despite having radically different types of government. Both countries also share among the highest rates of incarceration: 236 prisoners for every 100,000 people in Taiwan and 207 per 100,000 people in Saudi Arabia.

Among the countries whose people have the highest trust in police, tiny Iceland, with a population of about 370,000, has the lowest per capita incarceration rate at 36 inmates per 100,000 people. Fifteen of the 25 countries with the most trust in police have homicide rates below 1 for every 100,000 people, and in all the homicide rate is at or below 2.2 per 100,000 people. By comparison, the U.S. homicide rate is nearly 6.8 per 100,000

So where does the U.S. stand in terms of trust in police? Pretty much at the world average with a score of 83 out of 100. The U.S., considered a liberal democracy, has one of the world’s highest incarceration rates at 531 prisoners per 100,000 people. (This is each state’s police department that killed the most people.)

Turning to the 25 countries with the least trust in police, their Law and Order Index scores range from 68 in Mozambique to 51 in Afghanistan.

Among the countries with the least trust in police, Namibia, Peru, and South Africa have the highest incarceration rates — between 250 and 318 inmates for every 100,000 people. Per-capita homicide rates in these countries range from 1.8 for every 100,000 people in Ghana and Malawi to more than 20 per 100,000 people in Nigeria, Colombia, Mexico, and South Africa.

Here are the countries with the most and least trust in police.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

25. Czech Republic
> Law and Order Index score: 87/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.4 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 182 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

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24. Estonia
> Law and Order Index score: 87/100
> Annual homicide rate: 2.0 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 145 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

23. Malta
> Law and Order Index score: 87/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.4 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 113 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

22. South Korea
> Law and Order Index score: 87/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 103 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

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21. Canada
> Law and Order Index score: 87/100
> Annual homicide rate: 2.1 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 85 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

20. Sweden
> Law and Order Index score: 88/100
> Annual homicide rate: 1.1 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 82 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

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19. Netherlands
> Law and Order Index score: 88/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.7 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 65 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

18. Saudi Arabia
> Law and Order Index score: 89/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.8 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 207 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Closed autocracy

17. Kosovo
> Law and Order Index score: 89/100
> Annual homicide rate: 2.2 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 93 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

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16. Jordan
> Law and Order Index score: 89/100
> Annual homicide rate: 1.0 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 185 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Closed autocracy

15. Spain
> Law and Order Index score: 89/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.6 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 113 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

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14. Taiwan
> Law and Order Index score: 89/100
> Annual homicide rate: N/A
> Incarceration rate: 236 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

13. Uzbekistan
> Law and Order Index score: 89/100
> Annual homicide rate: 1.4 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 85 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Closed autocracy

12. Slovenia
> Law and Order Index score: 90/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.4 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 72 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

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11. Denmark
> Law and Order Index score: 90/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.8 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 69 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

10. Portugal
> Law and Order Index score: 91/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.8 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 121 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

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9. Iceland
> Law and Order Index score: 91/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 36 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

8. Finland
> Law and Order Index score: 91/100
> Annual homicide rate: 1.6 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 51 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

7. United Arab Emirates
> Law and Order Index score: 92/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 104 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Closed autocracy

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6. Egypt
> Law and Order Index score: 92/100
> Annual homicide rate: 1.3 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 116 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

5. Indonesia
> Law and Order Index score: 92/100
> Annual homicide rate: N/A
> Incarceration rate: 99 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

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4. Switzerland
> Law and Order Index score: 92/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 73 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

3. Norway
> Law and Order Index score: 93/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 54 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

2. Tajikistan
> Law and Order Index score: 95/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.9 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 141 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

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1. Singapore
> Law and Order Index score: 96/100
> Annual homicide rate: 0.1 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 156 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

Least:

25. Chile
> Law and Order Index score: 69/100
> Annual homicide rate: 3.6 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 267 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Liberal democracy

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24. Mozambique
> Law and Order Index score: 68/100
> Annual homicide rate: 3.6 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 62 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

23. Argentina
> Law and Order Index score: 68/100
> Annual homicide rate: 4.6 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 249 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

22. Ghana
> Law and Order Index score: 68/100
> Annual homicide rate: 1.8 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 47 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

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21. Peru
> Law and Order Index score: 66/100
> Annual homicide rate: 5.7 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 265 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

20. Colombia
> Law and Order Index score: 66/100
> Annual homicide rate: 27.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 198 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

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19. Namibia
> Law and Order Index score: 65/100
> Annual homicide rate: 12.4 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 318 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

18. Ecuador
> Law and Order Index score: 65/100
> Annual homicide rate: 14.0 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 170 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

17. Guinea
> Law and Order Index score: 65/100
> Annual homicide rate: N/A
> Incarceration rate: 34 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Closed autocracy

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16. Nigeria
> Law and Order Index score: 64/100
> Annual homicide rate: 21.7 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 36 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

15. Malawi
> Law and Order Index score: 64/100
> Annual homicide rate: 1.8 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 76 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

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14. Dominican Republic
> Law and Order Index score: 64/100
> Annual homicide rate: 10.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 222 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

13. Mexico
> Law and Order Index score: 64/100
> Annual homicide rate: 28.2 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 175 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

12. Bolivia
> Law and Order Index score: 64/100
> Annual homicide rate: 3.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 207 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

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11. Kenya
> Law and Order Index score: 63/100
> Annual homicide rate: 5.3 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 107 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

10. Mali
> Law and Order Index score: 63/100
> Annual homicide rate: N/A
> Incarceration rate: 40 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Closed autocracy

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9. Cameroon
> Law and Order Index score: 62/100
> Annual homicide rate: 4.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 116 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

8. South Africa
> Law and Order Index score: 61/100
> Annual homicide rate: 41.9 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 250 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

7. Uganda
> Law and Order Index score: 60/100
> Annual homicide rate: 8.5 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 151 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

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6. Zambia
> Law and Order Index score: 59/100
> Annual homicide rate: 5.2 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 118 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

5. Sierra Leone
> Law and Order Index score: 59/100
> Annual homicide rate: 2.1 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 57 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral democracy

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4. Republic of the Congo
> Law and Order Index score: 58/100
> Annual homicide rate: N/A
> Incarceration rate: 27 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

3. Venezuela
> Law and Order Index score: 55/100
> Annual homicide rate: 19.3 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 199 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

2. Gabon
> Law and Order Index score: 54/100
> Annual homicide rate: N/A
> Incarceration rate: 228 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Electoral autocracy

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1. Afghanistan
> Law and Order Index score: 51/100
> Annual homicide rate: 4.0 per 100,000 people
> Incarceration rate: 36 prisoners per 100,000 residents
> Government classification: Closed autocracy

Methodology

To determine the countries with the most and least trust in police, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on public perceptions of police and safety from Gallup’s Global Law and Order 2022 report. Countries were ranked based on the 2022 Law and Order Index, an indexed composite of the “positive” responses to the four questions:

  • In the city or area where you live, do you have confidence in the local police force?
  • Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?
  • Within the last 12 months, have you had money or property stolen from you or another household member?
  • Within the past 12 months, have you been assaulted or mugged?

The index scores are out of 100, with higher index scores indicating greater sense of safety and trust in police. 

Supplemental data on the number of intentional homicides reported per 100,000 residents per year are from the World Bank and are for 2021 or the latest year available. Data on incarceration rate by country are from the World Prison Brief, a division of the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research of the University of London. Government classifications are from the Varieties of Democracy project of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Data on population came from the World Bank and is for 2021.

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