Ipsos survey: Majority of Canadians agree security firms should support police
A recent Ipsos survey shows that a majority of Canadians agree with increasing support for police forces through private security companies that would perform the support tasks currently being performed by police officers. The results found 59 per cent are in favour versus 29 per cent who are not.
GardaWorld, who mandated Ipsos Public Affairs to conduct a scientific survey, says the company and the private security industry have “clearly expressed that they are ready to play a greater role in supporting police forces.”
“Twice as many Canadians are comfortable with the concept than not,” said Christian Paradis, senior vice-president at GardaWorld. “It’s a great starting point for a complex issue that is not very well known, but so very important.”
The numbers also show Canadians are comfortable with many of the measured proposals identified in the survey:
• Security at major events: 79 per cent are comfortable versus 16 per cent who are not.
• Traffic management: 70 per cent are comfortable versus 24 per cent who are not.
• Enforcing municipal by-laws and parking tickets: 59 per cent are comfortable versus 32 per cent who are not.
• Administrative tasks at the police station (forensic identification, administrative support and facility management): 58 per cent are comfortable versus 33 per cent who are not.
Canadians also show a significant level of support for other proposals, though with greater hesitation:
• Assisting victims during the suspect identification process: 49 per cent are comfortable versus 42 per cent who are not.
• Taking statements following a theft in the home after the area has been secured by police officers: 45 per cent are comfortable versus 46 per cent who are not.
• Detention services and transportation of detainees: 40 per cent are comfortable versus 50 per cent who are not.
• Taking statements and fingerprints and transcription of interviews at the police station: 40 per cent are comfortable versus 52 per cent who are not.
• Securing crime scenes: 37 per cent are comfortable versus 56 per cent who are not.
“I get the feeling that some of the people surveyed, when asked certain questions, pictured scenes that they see in the CSI shows, when in fact that’s not the case at all,” Paradis said. “And very few people say that they are ‘very uncomfortable.’ We need to raise awareness and educate, but again, it’s a great starting point.”
He notes GardaWorld already provides cash transportation services for financial institutions, transportation of detainees for The Canada Border Services Agency and pre-boarding security in airports.
“When you go to the dentist’s office, not everybody there is a dentist. The reasons seem obvious to us, it’s just common sense,” Paradis continued. “Yet in our police forces, trained and qualified police officers perform tasks other than their essential duties, tasks for which their expertise is not at all required. What we’re saying is this: let’s put the right people in the right places, otherwise the system isn’t viable.”
The survey involved 1,007 Canadians and was conducted between Oct. 27 and Nov. 1, 2017.
“It’s important to understand that we do not want to replace police officers,” Paradis concluded. “Nobody is suggesting that we should privatize the police, that’s not it at all. We want to perform the tasks for which we are qualified in order to support our police officers, which would enable them to focus more on the duties that only they are qualified for. A qualified police officer who is managing downtown traffic is not tracking down criminals, which is what he would be doing if we were handling the traffic.”
GardaWorld says it is one of the largest privately-owned security services companies in the world, with more than 62,000 professionals serving clientele throughout North America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.