While many residents in Regina believe the police are doing a great job, Indigenous people have the least amount of trust in the service.
Police released the Community Perceptions of the Regina Police Service (RPS) report for 2017. The report is done every two years by two University of Regina professors — Dr. Nicholas A. Jones and Dr. Rick Ruddell.
The telephone survey included 462 respondents between Sept. 5 and Oct. 2 of 2017. There was concerns in previous years the Indigenous community wasn’t represented enough, so this year’s survey over-represented the Indigenous community — 10.5 per cent of the sample claimed to be Aboriginal while the 2016 census has the population at 9.6 per cent of the city.
Overall, nearly 80 per cent ranked the quality of service of the RPS as being very good to excellent.
“There’s lots of really encouraging things that came out of that survey and there’s a few areas where we’ve got some signs that we could improve,” police Chief Evan Bray said.
When it came to questions about trust and confidence, Indigenous people gave lower scores than other groups. For three of the five questions related to trust and confidence, on scores out of five, Indigenous people gave an average rating of 3.44 for the RPS is sensitive to the needs of my ethnic group, 4.28 for having confidence in the RPS when calling 911 and 3.67 for whether RPS officers understand the issues that affect my community.
“Number one, it absolutely involves community outreach, which is something that we do on a regular basis, really working with community groups trying to build those good positive relationships,” Bray said.
Bray asked officers are currently undergoing reconciliation training, which runs from January until May.
“I’ve been a police officer for 23 years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Aboriginal training that’s been as good as what we’re rolling out right now with our officers.”
He said the training involves residential schools and the 60s Scoop and gives it a modern day feel.
“I think it really is shaping the way that they interact with people in our community, particularly in the Aboriginal community.”
Women also rated the RPS higher than men in 2017.
When asked how the service could be improved, the five most common answers were:
- Increased visibility
- More patrols
- More enforcement of laws
- Better response times
- Better treatment of Minorities
Bray said they will be increasing the amount of police in the field by redeploying 20 police officers to the front-line with current resources.
Editor’s note: A previous version indicated Indigenous people gave a 2.67 rating to the question of whether RPS officers understand the issues that affect my community. The actual score given was 3.67.