Positive perceptions of Regina police declining for 1st time in more than 15 years, survey suggests

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Positive perceptions of the Regina police are down for the first time in more than 15 years, a University of Regina survey suggests.  (Trent Peppler/CBC - image credit)
Positive perceptions of the Regina police are down for the first time in more than 15 years, a University of Regina survey suggests. (Trent Peppler/CBC - image credit)

Positive perceptions of the Regina Police Service have declined for the first time in more than 15 years, a new survey suggests.

Some results of the Regina police's annual community perceptions survey were released in a report that will be presented to the board of police commissioners on Tuesday.

The telephone survey of 450 Regina residents, conducted by the University of Regina on behalf of police, was held from Sept. 8, 2021 to Oct. 21, 2021.

"For the first time in over 15 years, respondents reported a decline in positive perceptions of police in Regina. This, however, is consistent with the decrease in perceptions reported on a federal level as well as in many other municipalities in Canada," the report says.

According to the survey, about 85 per cent of respondents agree they would have confidence in calling 911 in an emergency situation requiring police presence. That's down about seven per cent from the 2019 survey.

Almost 72 per cent of people agree the police service is sensitive to the needs of their ethnic group, a decline of about seven per cent compared with 2019.

More than 46 per cent of respondents felt Regina police treat people fairly, while about 12 per cent felt the force does a poor job.

In comparison, more than 58 per cent of respondents felt Regina police treated people fairly in 2019.

Thirty-nine per cent of survey respondents had some form of contact with the police service in the past year. A majority (69 per cent) said they initiated contact with police. About nine per cent of respondents were Indigenous, a decline of one per cent compared with 2019 and 2017.

Alexander Quon/CBC
Alexander Quon/CBC

Nicholas Jones and Rick Ruddell, professors with the department of justice studies at the University of Regina, designed the survey.

Ruddell says there was around a five per cent decline in almost all survey categories including trust and confidence, and quality of service.

He credits the decline with the police murder of George Floyd in 2020 and subsequent protests around the world over racial injustice in policing.

"We're really attributing it to a lot of this publicity just from what happened in the United States," Ruddell said. "There were all sorts of protests down there, and questioning the police, and calls for police reform and whatnot. And there was that throughout Canada as well."

Regina police Chief Evan Bray will talk to reporters about the survey after it's presented to the board of police commissioners Tuesday at 9 a.m. CST.

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