An officer enters the RCMP headquarters in Whitehorse. The Yukon Police Council is launching an online survey to gauge the public’s attitudes toward the Yukon RCMP. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Yukon Police Council using online survey to gauge trust in local force

Survey results will not be made public

The Yukon Police Council is launching an online survey to gauge the public’s attitudes toward the Yukon RCMP.

“This year, by offering an online survey, we have provided an easily accessible method for Yukoners to share their thoughts, opinions and experiences on policing in Yukon,” said Janet Welch, a member of the Yukon Police Council.

In previous years community town halls have taken place, but won’t take place due to COVID-19. The survey is available online and will also be distributed in paper copy by non-profits, First Nations and municipal governments.

The survey responses will be used to write a report that will provide general recommendations for 2021-2022 to Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, but the specific information gathered will remain within the Police Board Council and will not be shared with the public.

“The purpose of the survey is to provide insight to the council,” said Al Lucier, assistant deputy minister.

“It is very important for the police to be able to effectively work in a trusted fashion. There have been generational issues, there have been systemic issues that have eroded that trust and the council is trying to dig to the bottom of that, to be able to provide recommendations to the minister and increase that trust,” Lucier said.

He said the answers must be kept private to protect anonymity. Welch added that the council will not be sharing the survey responses with the Yukon RCMP either.

Most of the questions aim to measure trust and confidence in the force.

The first survey response asks participants to agree or disagree on topics like whether the RCMP “understands the issues facing my community” and “is an organization with integrity and honesty.”

The survey also asks participants for their personal experiences reporting crime to the RCMP. The survey asks if they or a family member reported a crime, why they didn’t report it, and their satisfaction with the response.

Open text boxes allow participants to share their experiences in how police either handled the situation well and made “the experience less traumatic” or anything they would like to see done better.

The survey also asks what respondents feel are the most pressing issues in their community and what the RCMP could do to improve – including the wearing of body cameras, more foot patrols and “working with service or support providers to assist the RCMP officers in dealing with vulnerable populations.”

Tracy MacPherson, another member of the police council, said the organization worked with an independent consultant to develop the questions.

The survey asks respondents whether they identify as male, female or another gender. It also asks for information on household income, age, race, the community they reside in and whether a family member works for the force. All the identifying questions include an option not to answer.

The survey is online here and will accept responses until Nov. 30.

Once completed, the police council will compile recommendations for the justice minister for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Last year’s priorities from the council were to increase public trust and foster meaningful relationships; strengthen support for vulnerable persons and victims of crime; support enforcement efforts to combat serious drug-related and violent crime; and allow for innovation that supports access to restorative justice processes.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse RCMPYukon justice department

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