New research project:

Behind the Badge: Perceptions of Police Performance from the Viewpoint of Victims, Detainees and Police Officers


The Honduran police force is in the midst of a historic reform, the results of which are still unfolding. Although public perception of the police has been historically negative—marked by suspicion and lack of confidence—the state has made concerted efforts to bolster the image of the police through systemic reforms, driven and supported by civil society and the international community. 

After more than four years of reforms, this study analyses the status of police perception and the progress of the police reform in Honduras, by listening to victims, the detainees and the police themselves. The study considers their complaints, opinions and suggestions and recommends changes going forward for how to achieve a more efficient, legitimate and trustworthy police.



The study identifies significant shortcomings in basic police interactions with the public. These shortcomings negatively impact the relationship between the police and the community, lead to poor policing outcomes, and foster distrust.


The study shows a deep lack of compliance by police with the legal framework at the time of arrest and the conditions in holding cells are deplorable. Receiving food and water during detention is an exception rather than the rule, and acts of physical and verbal abuse persist.


Police corruption continues to be a big problem, but according to the survey, petty police corruption occurs in a relatively low amount of cases. 6% of detainees report having been asked a bribe and 3% of victims report being asked for money for the police to be able to act in their case.


Police officers report a massive lack of basic resources including notebooks, cell phones, vehicles, and ammunition, which complicates their ability to do their job well. With relatively low investments or budget revisions, officers could be equipped more adequately, which would significantly improve the conditions for effective policing.