Police organizations present a unique paradox in modern democracies: they are guarantors of security and protectors of fundamental freedoms; and, at the same time, they are a potent threat to those same liberties. Per­haps no other servants of the state carry so much responsibility and require so much public trust. The police must be able to exercise a wide range of lawful powers - including the use of deadly force - in order to protect citizens and ensure law and order; and, at the same time, they must act in a manner that fully respects the law, civil liberties and basic human rights. The extent to which the police get the balance right is a recognized indi­cator of true democracy in a society. That indicator of true democracy is often measured by the level of public trust in the police.

The publication of this IDM research report is both welcome and timely, as a means of measuring public trust in the Albanian State Police (ASP) and indicating the strength of democracy in this country. A wealth of data has been provided that will assist in understanding public perceptions of the police in greater depth and detail than in any previous period of Al­bania’s history. This data will provide a much-needed factual basis for debate about integrity within the ranks of the ASP, and inform the process of police reform and restructuring. The IDM information will also provide added impetus to the revised Code of Ethics and the growing desire within the Government to eradicate police corruption through an uncompromis­ing adherence to moral and ethical principles.

Dr. Frank Harris, D.Crim.J.
Police Accountability Advisor, Ministry of Internal Affairs
ICITAP, Albania