Toronto police poll reveals attitudes to policing in city

A poll commissioned by CBC News regarding attitudes around policing in Toronto revealed several sentiments, including a belief that officers are treated differently than their civilian counterparts in the justice system.

Body-worn cameras, dealing with people with mental health issues priorities

A poll commissioned by CBC News on attitudes to policing in Toronto revealed several sentiments, including a belief that officers are treated differently than civilians in the justice system.

Views expressed by respondents to the poll were largely echoed by CBC News readers in Toronto. However, a few views were not entirely reflective of readers' beliefs.

Above the law?

Nearly one in three Toronto residents believe police officers are above the law, according to the poll conducted for CBC News. Dozens of readers tended to agree with that finding.

"Cops [have] always been able to do as they please. They are above the law," wrote a user on the CBC Toronto Facebook page.

But others said the law applies to all equally, including officers.

The Sammy Yatim shooting

Fifty-four per cent of respondents said their view of Toronto police is somewhat or much worse following the shooting death of Sammy Yatim and the arrests of four officers on perjury and obstructing justice charges

"My opinion of the Toronto officer who did this was ruined the day that it happened," a user said on the CBC Toronto Facebook page

"It is the straw that finally broke the camel's back. Many, many wrongs in the last 10 years," wrote another Facebook user.

Body-worn cameras

Three-quarters of respondents said all officers should wear body-worn cameras. Currently, a segment of officers use the devices as part of a pilot project.

A few readers said body-worn cameras could mutually benefit officers and civilians.

"It will benefit both the cop and the suspect," wrote one user on the CBC Toronto Facebook page.

Several readers said the cameras would keep civilians and suspects accountable as well.

"Good idea and it would keep the public accountable of their actions," a user wrote on the CBC Toronto Facebook page.

Dealing with people with mental health issues

Fifty-three per cent of respondents disagreed with the statement that police do "everything they can to de-escalate encounters with people who are mentally ill."

CBC News conducted the study by speaking with panellists from the Angus Reid Forum between Jan. 29-31. There were 517 respondents, all of whom are Angus Reid Forum panelists over the age of 18. The results have been statistically weighted according to age and gender Census data to ensure a sample representative of the adult population of Toronto on these measures. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


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