Hungarians expect Brussels to set aside political debates
Hungary sides with order and the police
In recent weeks, in the wake of political protests and riots in the United States and Western Europe, law enforcement agencies have come under fire with criticism. Left-wing organizations and politicians supporting the open society are lobbying to review the role and function of the police and limit the size of the police force (in the US, for example, to support "Defund the Police" or "Abolish the Police"). In the United States, succumbing to pressure, the Minneapolis government disbanded police and armed demonstrators in a busy part of Seattle proclaimed a police-free “autonomous zone”. Recently, in Brussels, demonstrators attacked police cars and threw stones. Similar phenomena can be observed in other major European cities. In the light of historical developments, Századvég examined the extent to which these attitudes to the police force are present in Hungary, covering trust in the police and the public perception of the organization’s work within Hungary.
Based on the research, it can be stated that, regarding the examined institutions (police, court, prosecution, parliament), most people have trust in the police in Hungary: nearly three-quarter of the respondents (73 percent) were of this opinion, and only 24 percent of them expressed a different opinion. In line with this, almost four-fifths (79 percent) of the respondents are satisfied with the work of the Hungarian police, 17 percent of them were of the opinion that the authority in question is not performing its activities properly.
The survey also examined the opinions about police actions. Based on the results of the research, according to four-fifths (80 percent) of the respondents, the statement in the Hungarian press that "police measures are unreasonably violent in Hungary" does not correspond to reality, and only 14 percent of them view this issue differently. The suggestion that Hungary “is a police state where law enforcement agencies have excessive power” is rejected by even more respondents (82 percent). Only 13 percent of respondents find that police entitlement is too great. The majority of the population would like to see more police officers on the streets: two-thirds of Hungarians (66 percent) would increase the number and presence of police officers, while 30 percent say it is not necessary.
Providing adequate funding for the police is essential to maintain order and preserve public order, yet the left-wing leadership of New York and Los Angeles is cutting the budgets of those authorities. In Hungary, similar initiatives would be completely contrary to the will of the majority. Based on the survey, it can be stated that, on the whole, Hungarian society supports order and sides with the police. 88% of the respondents do not agree with the statement that – following the American example – “the (state) funding of the police should be reduced in Hungary as well”, and a similar proportion (87 percent) believe that this move would lead to an increase in crime (6 and 9 percent, respectively, express the opposite opinion).
In addition, according to the research on the values of the population, conducted by Századvég in the autumn of 2019, the majority of Hungarian society (66.3 percent) consider the factors related to order, such as security, following the rules, or obedience, highly important. This finding has been confirmed by international comparative studies, including the 2017 wave of the European Values Survey: Among 30 examined countries in Europe, out of the 4 answer options of values, 41.7 percent of Hungarians chose that maintaining order is the most important goal, placing Hungary in the top third of the respondents.
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE, WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THOSE LISTED ON THIS SHEET?