Confidence in police drops across Canada amid calls against racism, for reform


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – More Canadians are questioning their trust in police as weeks of demonstrations against racism and police brutality sweep across North America.

That’s according to a new poll, which finds confidence levels in the authorities have dropped in the weeks since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd was killed while being restrained by police on May 25. His death has sparked anti-racism protests and calls for changes to police conduct.

Recent events appear to have had so much of an impact in Canada that while 70 per cent of Canadians say they trust the police a lot or somewhat, that figure is down nine points from May and 11 points from April, the survey from Leger finds.

The number of Caucasian respondents who trust police a lot or somewhat was higher than visible minorities who have faith in police services, at 72 per cent versus 61 per cent.

In the United States, the confidence level drops, with a total of 60 per cent of people saying they have trust in police services. Once again, the number of Caucasian respondents who have confidence in the authorities was higher than the number of visible minority respondents who say the same thing, at 65 per cent to 44 per cent.

The majority of respondents say they’ve felt safe when having to deal with police officers, but once again, the number of people who say yes is higher among Caucasians than visible minorities.

Overall, more Canadians — 75 per cent — tell Leger they felt safe when they have had to interact with officers, but that number drops to 57 per cent for visible minorities in this country, compared to the 78 per cent of Caucasian respondents.

In the U.S., 64 per cent of people polled say they feel safe while interacting with police.

Meanwhile, when it comes to body cameras, there’s a high level of support for officers to don the devices in Canada. The poll suggests the vast majority of Canadian respondents, nine-in-10, are in favour.

Albertans show the most support for this measure across the country, with 94 per cent. They are followed closely by respondents in B.C. — at 93 per cent, as well as those in the Atlantic, at 91 per cent. Support for body cameras appears to be high across all demographics.