Squares of colours, text "Public opinion poll 2022" and logo of the EEA grants and KNAB

The social survey of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) shows that 85% of residents and 73% of entrepreneurs are not prepared to give a bribe to a public official to resolve a problem. The most common considerations by residents and entrepreneurs in favour of possible giving of bribes is greater certainty that the problem will be addressed at all.

Compared to the public opinion poll conducted by KNAB in January 2021, the attitude of both surveyed groups towards bribery has changed this year – negative attitude has risen among residents, whereas tolerance has increased among entrepreneurs, which may possibly be linked to the business restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Although greater certainty about the problem being resolved has been noted in both surveys as the most common reason for the giving of bribes, the 2022 survey has shown a percentage increase in favour of the specific reason among both groups of respondents.

Survey data reveals that in the last two years, 20% i.e. one in five residents have used informal methods to resolve various situations. This most commonly occurred in health care and for gaining employment in state or municipal institutions. Informal methods were more widely used by entrepreneurs – 31% i.e. nearly every third entrepreneur. It was most often done for resolving construction related issues and participating in state and municipal procurements. Personal contacts have remained the most commonly used informal method among both groups of respondents.

Citizens continue to cite the need for greater disclosure of information in relation to those persons and organizations that influence decision-making, and stricter controls on public procurements as important solutions in the fight against corruption. Meanwhile, the opinion among entrepreneurs that harsh and real penalties should be imposed on offenders, and that officials should be recruited through open competition remains unchanged.

Along with the growing public rejection of bribery, the number of people who would be willing to report corruption has also increased. Namely, the majority or 61% of the population would report it, of which 19% would be willing to do so by revealing their identity. In situations where a bribe is requested or an official violates their authority, 38% of respondents would report to KNAB, and the highest reporting activity is observed among the youngest population.

1040 residents over the age of 18 and 400 companies operating in Latvia participated in the public opinion poll. The survey was conducted by the Market and Social Research Centre "Latvijas Fakti" on behalf of KNAB in the period from 7 January 2009 to 14 February 2022.

The survey conducted within the framework of the project “Support for the establishment of a whistle-blowing system in Latvia”, where KNAB receives grants from grants from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in the European Economic Area. The aim of the project is to promote public involvement in reporting corruption and other latent crimes, while providing the population with a secure and convenient reporting channel, as well as improving KNAB competence in detecting and investigating corruption crimes.