The survey, which was carried out to gauge several factors connected to the current lockdown in parts of the state due to the coronavirus pandemic, found that only 42% of Victorian residents rated the police as "very high" (11%) or high (31%) when it came to honesty and ethics.
A quarter of those surveyed rated the police either "low" (13%) or "very low" (12%). A further 33% gave the police an average rating for ethics and honesty.
The special Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey was conducted with a Victoria-wide cross-section of 2278 Victorians aged 18+ on 15 September and 16 September 16.
The current survey also asked residents a number of other questions about the pandemic.
Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said Victoria Police had attracted a degree of controversy in recent weeks after several videos of alleged COVID-19 lawbreakers being subject to potentially "heavy-handed" police action:
"The Victorian Police have been under the spotlight in recent weeks with videos circulating of a pregnant woman in Ballarat being arrested at home for a Facebook post, old ladies being confronted on park benches for not wearing masks, a woman being forcibly removed from her car after refusing to provide her driver's licence and a man under arrest in Epping who appeared to have his head stomped by one of the arresting police officers and was subsequently put into an induced coma," Levine said.
"It should be recognised that the police officer accused of stomping on the man under arrest in Epping has been suspended and is now under criminal investigation for the actions taken during the arrest by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.
"Given the media attention paid to these incidents in locked down Melbourne, it is no surprise that fewer Victorians than three years ago rate the Police either 'very high' or 'high' for ethics and honesty – now at 42%. This compares to a record high 76% in mid-2017 in the nationally conducted Roy Morgan Image of Professions survey.
"Views on the Victorian Police are nearly identical for ALP and L-NP supporters, but younger Victorians are the least likely to rate the police highly. Only 31% of Victorians aged under 35 rate the Police either 'very high' (4%) or 'high' (27%) for ethics and honesty while 32% rate them either 'low' (16%) or 'very low' (16%) – easily the highest of any age group."
Other questions in the survey resulted in the following responses:
A large majority of 71% (up 2% in a week) of L-NP supporters said Melburnians should now be able to visit the homes of their immediate families compared to 46% (down 4%) of ALP supporters and 53% (up 18%) of Greens supporters;
Two-thirds of L-NP supporters (66% – up 9%) said Melbourne residents should now be able to travel more than 5km from their home compared to 38% (down 8%) of ALP supporters and just 34% (down 1%) of Greens supporters; and
For the first time a slim majority of L-NP supporters (52% – up 11%) said the Melbourne night-time curfew from 9pm-5am should end now compared to just 27% (down 5%) of ALP supporters and only 24% (down 6%) of Greens supporters.
iTWire contacted Victoria Police for comment but the organisation said it had no comment to offer..