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Estonians trust police, volunteer rescuers the most - survey

Imavere vabatahtlikud päästjad. PHOTO: Dmitri Kotjuh / Järva Teataja

Of the institutions responsible for internal security, the police and volunteer rescuers are trusted the most by Estonians whereas trust in assistant police officers has weakened, it appears from a security study commissioned by the Interior Ministry.

Volunteer rescuers are considered fully trustworthy or rather trustworthy by 81 percent of respondents, the volunteer corps Kaitseliit (Defense League) by 72 percent, security companies by 65 percent, neighborhood watch by 55 percent, and assistant police staff, by 49 percent, the telephone survey Turu-uuringute AS conducted among Estonians aged 15 and over in spring showed. The study found that ethnic Estonians place more trust in neighborhood watch, volunteer rescuers and Kaitseliit than their Russian-speaking compatriots.

Compared to the 2013 study, trust in volunteer rescuers has grown by 5 percentage points and in Kaitseliit by 7 percentage points, while neighborhood watch has lost 12 percentage points and assistant police 18 percentage points. The trust rating of the police is stable at 84 percent. Trust in security companies was not measured in 2013.

Average perception of the safety of one's living environment has slightly improved over the past two years. Ethnic Estonians on the whole had a higher opinion than non-ethnic Estonians of the safety of the place where they live. By regions, inhabitants feel the safest in western Estonia and least safe in Tallinn and northeastern Estonia.

Some 51 percent of respondents agreed that the responsibility for safety, security and rescue activity should lie on the police and professional rescuers, 37 percent supported the population's active engagement in ensuring the safety and rescue capability of their home neighborhood, and 12 percent did not have an opinion.

More than a half of the interviewees believe security would be enhanced first of all by installation of surveillance cameras in streets and police activity, and a third are of the opinion that a working neighborhood watch sector would significantly increase security.

The polling company interviewed 1,001 residents of Estonia in April and May.