Nunavut residents trust police less than other Canadians do: StatsCan
In survey, more Nunavummiut than others say police are doing “average or poor job”
(Survey data updated at 9:50 a.m.)
Local police in Canada’s North don’t enjoy the same level of support as those policing southern communities.
And Nunavummiut are more wary of their local police officers than citizens anywhere else in Canada.
That’s according to new data released by Statistics Canada Jan. 27 as part of its General Social Survey on Canadians’ Safety.
Only half of those surveyed in Nunavut agreed that police are doing a good job, the lowest level of support found in any Canadian jurisdiction.
The purpose of the survey, conducted by telephone and internet in 2014, was to “better understand how Canadians perceive crime and the justice system,” StatsCan’s website says.
“It also allows collection of information on their experience of victimization.”
The survey gauged Canadians’ views of local police by asking respondents to judge police in six categories.
For example, StatsCan asked Canadians how well local police kept their communities informed on crime prevention, whether police treated people fairly, how well police enforced the law, and how quickly police responded to calls.
StatsCan then compiled the responses into percentages of those who found local police doing a “good job,” and those who found police doing an “average or poor job.”
Across all six categories, the national average of those who say local police are doing a good job is 61 per cent.
By contrast, only 50 per cent of those surveyed in Nunavut agreed that police are doing a good job — the lowest percentage found in any Canadian jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, 44 per cent of Nunavummiut surveyed said police were doing an average or poor job across all six categories included in the survey.
For this survey, Statistics Canada surveyed 79,000 households across Canada and got 33,127 responses for a response rate of 52 per cent.
A StatsCan statistician explained that in a survey such as this, each person who responds is given a weight of approximately 50 people. So when StatsCan claims that 23,000 Nunavummiut were represented in the survey, that comes to about 460 actual adults over the age of 15.
In three categories, more than half of the Nunavummiut surveyed said local police are doing an average or poor job.
Those three categories are: informing the public on crime prevention (52 per cent), enforcing the law (51 per cent) and responding to calls quickly (51 per cent).
The national average for those who said local police are doing a good job enforcing laws is 62 per cent — 18 per cent higher than the same average in Nunavut.
Another big gap between the national and the Nunavut average can be found in the category of police response-time to calls.
Nationally, 56 per cent of those surveyed said local police are doing a good job responding to calls, but only 41 per cent of Nunavummiut agreed.
The RCMP provides all policing services in Nunavut, while larger urban centres in the South often have their own police to deal with most issues.
Nunavut’s history with RCMP has been troubled at times.
For example, RCMP killed hundreds of sled dogs in Nunavut in the 1950s and 1960s, during those years when Inuit were being relocated to other communities. The Qikiqtani Truth Commission concluded those killings were not systemic or policy-based, but the commission heard from many witnesses who saw the dog-killings as an open attack on Inuit culture.
Canada’s other two territories also showed less overall support for local police than the national average.
How approachable police are viewed by communities — this is the category in which police scored the highest levels of support.
Across Canada, 66 per cent of survey-takers said police do a good job in being approachable, with similar numbers for Nunavut (62 per cent,) the Yukon (66 per cent) and the Northwest Territories (65 per cent.)