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NWT residents’ perception of police ‘worse than elsewhere’

Figures released on Wednesday suggest Northwest Territories residents take a dimmer-than-average view of their police.

Statistics Canada has published the results of a survey conducted in 2014, comparing the perceptions people across Canada have of their local police force.

Residents were asked to rate police work as good, average or poor in six areas. In all six, RCMP in the NWT place among the four lowest-scoring regions.

The territory fares best when residents are asked how approachable and “easy to talk to” their police are. In the NWT, Statistics Canada says 64.8 percent of those surveyed believed RCMP did “a good job”.

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Statistics Canada data
Statistics Canada data shown: percentage of residents believing police do ‘a good job’ of being approachable and easy to talk to.

That’s the same as the figure for Manitoba, and a higher rating than achieved by forces in Quebec and Nunavut.

However, the NWT is bottom of the list when it comes to perceptions of neighbourhood safety.

Asked if police did a good job in regard to ensuring that safety, 57.1 percent of respondents in the territory said yes. That’s lower than anywhere else in Canada, including 57.4 percent in Nunavut and 59.4 percent in Yukon. The Canadian average is 66.6 percent, with a full 73 percent of Quebec residents approving of police work on neighbourhood safety.

Statistics Canada data
Statistics Canada data shown: percentage of residents believing police do ‘a good job’ in regard to ensuring neighbourhood safety.

Police in the Northwest Territories are above only Nunavut when it comes to perceptions of whether people are fairly treated, whether residents feel informed about ways to prevent crime and whether police respond quickly. Only 41.5 percent of residents said RCMP did “a good job” of the latter.

The territory scores higher than Nunavut and Yukon for perceptions of the work police do in enforcing the law.

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Read the survey: Full survey issued to residents in 2014

Explore the data: Results published by Statistics Canada

To come up with these figures, Statistics Canada contacted 79,000 households across the 10 provinces and a further 3,600 households in the three territories. The results published on Wednesday are a snapshot of police-related data from a much broader survey.

There was a 58.7 percent response rate in the North, meaning a total of just over 2,000 northern residents took part. Researchers spoke to one member of each household contacted. No individual figure for the NWT sample size is provided.

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