Cops in Canada: Hard Facts Matter

Cops in Canada feeling down and done in the constant news and social media barrage of “defund,” “disband” and emotionally disembowel police need to take a gander at a recent Angust Reid Institute national survey of Canadian attitudes towards policing. The data presents a shocking comparison of the world of media-magnet boisterous, sensational protesters and a world of, well, facts (http://angusreid.org/policing-perspectives-canada-rcmp/).

Check out these fast-facts from the national survey of over 5,000 residents:

  • 75% of Canadians have a favourable opinion of police in their community. Even the majority of those between the ages of 18 and 24 who most frequently according to crime stats get into legal hot water.
  • 72% of Indigenous respondents also agreed they had a favourable opinion of policing in their community.
  • Here’s possible news for Surrey BC that’s switching from the Mounties to their own City Police Service. The Angus Reid survey shows that across Canada, 80% of residents have a favourable rating of the RCMP compared to 73% for city/municipal police. This of course, is comparing chalk to cheese. Outside of Ontario with the regional OPP, the RCMP serves in hundreds of remote and rural communities. You can’t really compare Surrey RCMP to Northern BC.
  • We’ve all heard about “systemic racism” in policing. A forthcoming survey by Angus Reid will go deeper but in this survey 76% of visible minorities agreed that they had a combined “more positive than negative” and “totally positive” experience dealing with police. The results were very close to ratings by those identified as being Indigenous.
  • Finally, as is expected, only 27% of those who think police should be “defunded” agreed that police in their community made them feel “proud.” Not expected by me was that a combined 52% of the “defunders” agreed that they way they were treated by police in their encounter was “more positive than negative” and “totally positive.”

There is a great deal more served in the Angus Reid survey as it dives deep into specifics and nuances that add greater context to the results. But in these looney times of pandemic paranoia, of anti-maskers and belief in conspiracy theories, it is valuable to have empirical evidence to challenge emotional, simplistic, and purposely misleading events of our times.

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