“We saw numbers and confidence levels two years ago in 2012 at less than 30 percent. Today they’re at just under 60 percent,” says Angus Reid Global Vice President Shachi Kurl, adding it’s more of a rebound, not a surge.
Kurl claims part of the reasons confidence was so low in 2012 was several public relations blunders, including how police handled the Pickton missing women investigation and the tazering of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver Airport.
“I think what we’ve seen in the interim over the last two years is police forces move to really try to address quite a few of the perceptions and frankly some of the reality around a lack of openness and transparency,” Kurl says.
She adds confidence is also up when it comes to municipal police, BC Courts and the justice system.
SFU Criminology Professor Rob Gordon says he doesn’t think the poll is an accurate representation of British Columbians feelings on police. “I don’t think a great deal of stock can be put in both the questions and the responses,” Gordon adds “You have to take some of it with a pinch of salt.”
Gordon admits he hasn’t seen this years’ version, but the 2012 poll had questions he calls confusing. “It’s a bewildering poll. First of all, it’s comparing countries. The samples are actually imbalanced. I think there’s a thousand Canadians who were approached. They’re a fairly select group.”
However, Gordon says events over the past two years, including establishing the Independent Investigation Office and changes implemented by the RCMP commissioner, definitely would have a positive effect on boosting public perception.