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Positive perception of Regina police on the decline, semi-annual survey shows

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The Regina Police Service are seeking public assistance in locating three men following a report of a back alley robbery and assault. File / Global News

For the first time in more than 15 years, the Regina Police Service  (RPS) has reported a decline in positive perceptions of police in Regina.

Read more: Regina police locate 28-year-old woman and her 3-year-old son

In a survey that takes place every other year conducted by the University of Regina; 450 responses were recorded in the latest poll. The data comes as part of the report being presented at the Board of Police Commissioners meeting on July 26.

“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 reads. “The decline is consistent with the public perception of police following the George Floyd incident and subsequent protests in 2020.”

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said the decline was expected given everything that has happened over the last two years.

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“There was a lot of things particular to policing that had changed, so we were expecting to see a downward turn in terms of satisfaction and even feelings of safety. We knew were going to be compromised because of the turmoil we had seen,” he said.

The survey took place between Sept. 8 and Oct. 21, 2021, and included five new questions meant to gather information about the community.

Read more: Ahthakakoop RCMP searching for 27-year-old man after woman allegedly assaulted

Three questions were related to contact with the RSP while two were related to quality of service.

“Respondents continued to report positively about the quality of service and satisfaction with the level of service provided by the RPS, agree that the RPS is an organization with integrity and honesty that demonstrates professionalism, and would have confidence if calling 9-1-1 in emergencies.”

Here are a few notable highlights from the report:

  • When asked if Regina Police officers are likely to provide the same quality of service to everyone in the community, 55.1 per cent of respondents agreed.
  • 1 per cent of respondents felt that police visibility in their neighbourhood has increased over the past year
  • 2 per cent agreed they would have confidence in calling 9-1-1 in an emergency situation requiring police presence
  • 1 per cent indicated either a four or a five on a five-point scale in which five represents excellent quality of service provided by the RPS
  • 9 per cent felt the RPS does an average job and 13.1 per cent felt the RPS does a poor job of supplying information to the public on ways to reduce crime
  • 1 per cent of respondents felt somewhat or very safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark
  • Regarding vandalism, graffiti and damage to property or vehicles in their neighbourhood, 15.3 per cent felt it was a very big problem, 66.2 per cent felt it was a fairly big problem, and 18.5 per cent felt it was not a problem at all

Respondents were asked to list the top three areas where the RPS could improve service delivery. The top three answers given were:

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  • more police visibility, police presence, more officers/patrols
  • better relations or communications between the police and the community, and
  • quick/improved police response time.

In total, Indigenous respondents accounted for 9.2 per cent of total responses this time around, compared to 10.4 per cent and 10.5 per cent in 2019 and 2017.

The full report can be found on the RPS website.

The report also outlined that the frequency of EMS visits to the police headquarters is on the rise. RPS has even begun employing primary care paramedics in its detention centre overnight.

Police have also launched a pilot project that will see the centre staffed with paramedics around the clock. The pilot started on June 1, and runs until the end of this year.

Throughout the month of June, paramedics prevented 11 daytime hospital transports, which would have tied up officers for an estimated 110 hours.

The project is expected to cost $149,000.

In total, there have been 8,587 police-reported crimes in Regina in the first half of 2022.

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