Amidst Rising Crime Police Inaction, Favoritism Erode Public Trust

Apr 8 , 2023
By Eden Sahle

In the Ayat area, a married couple recently experienced a distressing break-in, losing several valuable household items. Their ordeal was exacerbated when they sought help from the local police, only to be met with apathy and an insidious demand for an investigation fee.

It was only after the intervention of a high-ranking government official, whom they knew personally, that the police committed to pursuing their case actively. This incident sheds light on a deeply ingrained problem: law enforcement's preferential treatment of victims based on connections to those in power.

Such incidents are not isolated, as evidenced by my similarly frustrating experience after my family's house was robbed. We were asked for an informal investigation fee. When we refused to pay, investigators dropped the case, and the prime suspect was released without consequence.

These stories highlight the erosion of integrity and trust in law enforcement, with negative consequences for both victims of crime and society at large.

Crime rates in the city continue to rise, and the modus operandi of criminals grows increasingly sophisticated. Yet, it appears that for some members of law enforcement agencies, the urgency of addressing these crimes is contingent upon the victim's connections to influential figures. This selective approach to justice only further victimises those who have already suffered the indignity of crimes such as sexual assault, burglary, and violence.

When law enforcement fails to act, it undermines public trust and prompts citizens to take matters into their own hands. This vigilante approach can lead to a vicious cycle of violence, as individuals resort to acquiring weapons to protect their homes and properties from intruders. To restore faith in law enforcement, comprehensive reform is needed to emphasise integrity, impartiality, and dedication to the public interest.

To successfully implement these reforms, police stations must become places where victims' grievances are genuinely heard and acted upon, without expecting a financial gain. Law enforcement agencies must proactively identify and address systemic issues such as underfunding and corruption, contributing to the current culture of inaction and favouritism.

The community police, a law enforcement sector that has maintained its integrity, can serve as a model for this reform.

Community policing demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that offenders are held accountable and that victims receive justice, regardless of their social standing or connections. Other agencies should emulate their tactics, strategies, and responsiveness to crime to rebuild public trust in law enforcement.

Authorities must recognize that their primary duty is to serve and protect the public, irrespective of personal connections or affiliations. This includes addressing crime and fostering a sense of safety and security among citizens. By adopting a more egalitarian approach to justice and prioritizing the well-being of all members of society, law enforcement can begin to rebuild the trust that has been so severely damaged.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 08,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1197]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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