Saskatchewan

2017 survey shows Indigenous people least trusting of Regina Police Service

The results of a survey done last fall about the Regina Police Service shows Indigenous residents are less likely to trust the service than other members of the public.

Overall police satisfaction lower for Indigenous residents than others

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray says the service will likely release names on a case by case basis. (CBC News)

The results of a survey done last fall about the Regina Police Service (RPS) shows Indigenous residents are less likely to trust the service than other members of the public.

The survey, titled Community Perceptions of the Regina Police Service, 2017, was designed by two University of Regina researchers — Nick Jones and Rick Ruddell — and conducted by Prairie Research Associates.

  • 73 per cent of the 456 people who took the survey ranked the quality of service provided by RPS as very good or excellent.
  • 81 per cent said they thought the RPS operates with integrity and honesty.
  • 91 per cent said they had confidence calling 911.
  • 76 per cent said RPS is sensitive to the needs of their ethnic group.

A report on the survey, available on the RPS website, says the survey succeeded at a goal of increasing the percentage of respondents who are Indigenous. Regina's population is 9.4 per cent Indigenous, while 10.5 per cent of survey participants identified themselves as Indigenous, the report says.

Overall satisfaction in RPS was lower for Indigenous residents than it was for people of other demographics.

Respondents' trust and confidence in police was tested by asking them whether they agreed with five statements, such as "The RPS is sensitive to the needs of my ethnic group," and "Officers understand the issues that affect my community."

Indigenous respondents had a significantly lower agreement rate on these statements.

Mayor Michael Fougere, who is also the chair of the Board of Police Commissioners, said he was very pleased overall with the results of the survey, but admitted the results from Indigenous respondents show there are improvements to be made.

"There is work to do. There is no question about that," Fougere told reporters at RPS headquarters on Monday. "Our Indigenous people are in contact with the police service more than other sectors."

"It's very important to have this trust. The Chief and his officers are out everyday interacting in a number of ways with members of the public all the time and that will break down those barriers."

Police Chief Evan Bray said officers are working with community groups on outreach projects and taking a new reconciliation training course, which began in January.

"I've been a police officer for 20 years. I don't think I've ever seen Aboriginal training that's been as good as we're rolling out right now to our officers," he said.

Bray said the course covers residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and other contemporary issues. The force also has an advisory council of elders.

Residents still want greater police presence

When given an open-ended question about how RPS could improve, 21 per cent of respondents said they want to see more of a police presence, 14 per cent said the service could do better at enforcing laws and 11 per cent said they want officers to pay more attention to the high crime areas.

In January, the service re-deployed 20 police officers to the front lines, which both Fougere and Bray said should increase police visibility.

The majority of respondents, 61 per cent, were female. Women were more satisfied with the service than men, according to the survey.

Nearly 73 per cent of those surveyed attended a post secondary institution, 76 owned their home 84 per cent were white and about five per cent belong to non-Indigenous visible minorities.